Some workers have a clear claim to workers’ compensation benefits. A mistake by one of their co-workers may have caused their injury, or they could have developed a repetitive motion injury from performing the same job tasks every day for years.
Other workers may worry that they will have a hard time getting benefits. Some workers may even believe that they have no right to file a claim because of the circumstances when they got hurt. For example, some California workers are obviously directly responsible for their own injuries.
Can your employer or their insurance company deny you coverage because you tripped over your own untied shoelaces or burned yourself with a welding torch?
Workers’ compensation provides no-fault coverage
The good news for workers struggling to cope with a sudden and unexpected leave of absence due to injuries and medical bills is that workers’ compensation provides no-fault coverage. You don’t have to show that your employer is to blame for your injuries because of negligence or misconduct, and your own contributions to the injury will not inherently limit your right to claim benefits.
People make little mistakes at work all the time, and it would be very unfair if a simple slip of the hand were legal justification to deny someone healthcare benefits and disability pay until they can return to their job.
Some forms of fault can affect your claim
While most workers don’t have to worry about their responsibility for an injury affecting their claims, there are a few situations in which your behavior might make it harder to get benefits. If there is a plausible reason for the company to believe that you hurt yourself on purpose, possibly to get time off of work, that could affect your likelihood of success when claiming benefits. So could a failed drug test and evidence that helps your employer claim that your impairment directly caused your injury.
Unless you hurt yourself on purpose or fail the drug test, your own mistakes on the job that contributed to your injury will have minimal impact on your right to benefits. Workers concerned about a recent rejection notice may need to learn a bit more about their rights under California state law. Understanding how workers’ compensation insurance operates can help those hoping to secure benefits.