Workers’ Compensation for an Injury That Is Your Fault
You may think that you cannot claim workers’ compensation for an injury that occurred at work due to your own carelessness, but this is often not true. Though specific laws vary by state, workers’ compensation is a generally a no-fault system that allows you to recover for your injuries regardless of who is at fault. However, there are some exceptions that apply to the no-fault principle.
Benefits of No-Fault Workers’ Compensation
Before a system of no-fault workers’ compensation existed, you would have had to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer and prove that your condition resulted from his or her negligence to recover any damages for a work-related illness or injury. There was no certainty that the court would award you any damages at all, and even if you did recover compensation, it could take a long time to collect it.
This fault-based system was detrimental for employers as well. Every time a worker got hurt or sick due to work, they had to go to the trouble and expense of defending themselves against a lawsuit. The no-fault system of workers’ compensation is better for workers and employers alike. Workers can recover compensation much more quickly, without having to build a case against their employers while they are trying to recover from their injuries. Employers, on the other hand, do not have to defend themselves against lawsuits filed by employees. Additionally, they often do not have to pay compensation directly to the workers. Many states require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The employer pays a premium to the insurance company, which then pays out compensation to workers.
Exceptions to No-Fault Workers’ Compensation
To prevent abuse of the workers’ compensation system, some states impose certain exceptions to the no-fault work comp system. This means that some injuries arising from your own behavior are not compensable even if they occurred at work.
Generally speaking, an injury has to arise from employment to be compensable. In some jurisdictions, this is interpreted to mean that you cannot receive compensation due to an injury that results from horseplay or other reckless behavior that you perform in defiance of company rules that forbid it. If there is reason to believe that you injured yourself deliberately so that you could recover compensation, many states will refuse to award your claim. Injuries that occurred because you were intoxicated with alcohol or a controlled substance also may not be eligible for compensation.
If you have questions about whether your injury qualifies for workers’ compensation, contact our office.