What is Considered a Job Related Accident or Illness?
What is Considered a “Job-Related” Accident or Illness?
What is considered a “job-related” accident or illness isn’t always as simple as you would think. For an accident or illness to be considered “compensable” (meaning eligible for payment through workers’ compensation) there needs to be a clear connection between the problem and the job – but making these connections is where the tricky part comes in.
To give you some insight (with getting overly complex), here are 5 areas where the rules are tricky and understanding them can be valuable.
Bad behavior may or may not be a deal-breaker. Whether an employee who gets hurt on the job while violating company rules is considered eligible really depends on the level of bad behavior. For instance, if a company has a policy against the use of drugs on the job, an injury would likely not be covered. However, if an employee is rough-housing with another employee on a job site and gets hurt, despite workplace safety rules, the injury may be considered compensable.
Company parties aren’t off the table. Most companies don’t pay their employees to attend company events, like a company gathering at a baseball game. If an employee is hurt, however, even if it is due to his or her own carelessness or poor choice (like drinking too much), an injury that happened at the gathering would most likely be covered by workers’ compensation.
Lunch breaks aren’t what they would seem. Employees who get hurt while taking a lunch break on company premises, have a much higher probability of being eligible for workers’ compensation than those who (for instance) travel across the street to pick up a sandwich… unless, he or she is picking up a sandwich for their boss, too.
Mental health issues may count. Mental health issues that are clearly connected to workplace events and conditions may be considered compensable by workers’ compensation. A few good examples include… anxiety and depression clearly resulting from a workplace injury or witnessing a severe injury or death, and, illnesses and diseases that result from highly stressful work environments.
Pre-existing conditions don’t necessarily close the door. Employees who have a pre-existing condition which is intensified or made worse by their work, may be able to receive workers’ compensation. For instance, an employee who previously suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome, may later find his or herself experiencing severe wrist problems after moving a heavy box. Though the initial condition pre-dated his or her current job, workers’ compensation may be possible.
Like many aspects of our legal system, the answer to what is considered a job-related accident or illness, isn’t simple and getting legal help from an experienced attorney can make a real difference in the outcome a workers’ compensation claim.
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