Workers’ compensation is designed to help protect workers. It assists employees who are injured or who contract conditions or diseases at their job or because of their workplace environment. Some people mistakenly believe that workers’ comp only covers injuries that happen due to accidents not caused by the injured workers. In fact, the injuries covered by workers’ compensation are quite diverse and extensive. They may include accidental injuries regardless of fault, repetitive stress injuries that develop over time, and work-related diseases and conditions. There are some limits to the types of injuries that are compensable under the workers’ compensation system, however. If you have been injured or developed a disease at your job, you might benefit from a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Almost all employers are required to supply workers’ compensation coverage to their employees in order to provide them with financial protection if they are injured while they are working (source). Workers are not required to prove negligence on the part of their employers in order to receive benefits (there are exceptions to this rule but they do not often apply). When they are injured within the course and scope of their employment, they may apply for workers’ compensation benefits. In exchange for not having to prove fault, workers are not allowed to file lawsuits against their employers for their injury accidents.
Injuries covered by workers’ compensation benefits include almost every type of injury that can be incurred during a workplace accident. Even if an accident results from the worker’s own carelessness, the injured worker may still receive benefits to pay for his or her medical expenses. If the worker is left with a disabling condition, he or she may also receive monthly disability benefits on a temporary or permanent basis for total or partial disabilities. There are limits to the types of injuries covered by workers’ compensation, however. Workers may not be able to recover benefits in the following situations:
- Injuries that are self-inflicted
- Injuries that happened while the employee was not on the job
- Injuries that occurred during the commission of a crime
- Injuries that happened because an employee was violating company policies (This could result in a decrease in benefits depending on the circumstances).
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Workers do not have to suffer injuries in an accident at work in order to be covered by workers’ compensation. Injuries that develop over time due to repetitive stress also qualify workers for benefits. A common example of a repetitive stress injury that is suffered by many workers is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a painful narrowing of a nerve canal in the wrist. Workers who must spend hours typing on computers at their jobs often develop this syndrome, because they overuse the related muscles and tendons.
Work-Related Diseases and Conditions
Workers who contract diseases or other conditions due to their workplace environments may also receive workers’ compensation benefits. These conditions might include such things as hearing loss that develops over time due to noise exposure, lung disease caused by exposure to toxins, and other conditions that are caused because of the environment at work. Some workers have also successfully recovered workers’ compensation benefits when they have developed mental conditions, such as anxiety or depression, because of the stressful nature of their jobs. If the worker can offer evidence that the condition was caused by the workplace environment, he or she may receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact an Attorney
Although workers’ compensation benefits are meant to cover a broad range of injuries and illnesses, some employers and their insurance carriers may dispute or deny claims for benefits. They might try to deny valid claims in an effort to reduce their costs. This may especially be true in cases involving diseases that have been contracted over time because of the workers’ jobs.
Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers may assist their clients with collecting the evidence that they might need to prove that their injuries happened in the course and scope of their jobs. They may also assist their clients with filing their claims for all of the types of benefits for which they should be eligible. If the employers or insurance companies try to dispute the claims, the attorneys may litigate the claims on behalf of their clients through the administrative hearings process. Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today to learn more about your potential workers’ compensation claim and your rights.
If you have filed or need to file a workers’ compensation claim, we urge you to contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today for a free consultation. Our legal team can gather the evidence needed to move your case forward and recover needed benefits to safeguard your future. If your case is at a standstill, our attorneys can work on your behalf to move your case through the administrative process. Our knowledgeable and experienced team can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. To get started, please give us a call at 417-322-2222 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.