When an employee is hurt or develops an occupational illness while on the job, they may be eligible for replacement wages, medical coverage and other benefits through workers’ compensation.
However, the process of filing a workers’ comp claim can be quite complex. It starts with making sure that you’re qualified for benefits in the first place.
What qualifies as workplace injury?
Most workplace-related injuries, such as accidents and illnesses that result from exposure to work activities, equipment and materials, are covered by workers’ comp. The vast majority of employees in this country are covered under worker’s comp, even if they’re new hires, temp workers or seasonal employees.
Typically, you should document and report your injury to your employer as soon as you can. The employer and insurance company can dispute and potentially deny your claim if you delay. A delay in filing a report can also give both your employer and the insurance provider the impression that your job had nothing to do with your injury or illness.
What does not qualify as workplace injury?
Not all injuries or illnesses qualify for compensation. Here are some situations that can make it difficult or impossible to collect workers’ comp:
- Self-inflicted injuries, when they were intentionally done
- Stress or psychiatric disorders that cannot be linked to a workplace situation
- Injuries that have resulted from fighting with another employee (unless you were a victim)
- Injuries that have occurred while intoxicated
- Injuries resulting from horseplay
- Injuries that occurred during criminal activity
Injuries in the workplace happen all the time. When you suffer an injury or contract an illness while in the line of duty, it is important that you know what to do to establish your eligibility for compensation.