Workers’ compensation is designed to compensate employees for any injuries that are sustained while working. Although this system is designed to protect employees, many workers do not realize what their rights are. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so it is important that you know what the facts are. The first question many employees have is what illnesses and injuries are covered. Keep in mind that each state works slightly differently when it comes to workers’ comp. This means it is incredibly helpful to research the exact laws surrounding your state in particular.
Conditions of Coverage
The first thing you should understand about workers’ comp is that all injuries are covered. It does not matter what kind of injury it is or how big or small it is, workers’ comp is there to reimburse you for any medical bills or other expenses you accrue due to the injury, including lost wages. Instead of limitations on the type of injury, most of the limitations are based on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
For instance, only injuries that happen while you are working are covered. If you are injured at work, but you were on your break at the time, chances are good that you will not be covered. The key to remember is that only injuries that result from work-related activities will be compensated. So, technically, if you are doing work even when off the clock, you can still be covered. Injuries are still covered even if the injured employee is the one at-fault for the accident.
Examples of Types of Injuries That Are Covered
- Accidents – This is what most people think of when thinking of a workers’ comp case. If an accident injures you, you are entitled to compensation.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries – If an action causes injury due to its repetitive nature, you are still covered. Carpal tunnel is the most common instance of a repetitive stress injury. It is important to note that these injuries usually accumulate over months or years, but this does not disqualify them.
- Illnesses – It is not just injuries that are covered by workers’ comp. Illnesses or diseases caused by exposure to toxic materials or contaminated materials are absolutely covered, even if the affliction is lasts a lifetime.
- Stress – Mental injuries caused by emotional or mental stress is also covered.
- Pre-Existing Conditions – Surprisingly, even conditions that existed prior to being hired can still be covered if work-related activities worsened them.
The first step you should take if you are injured while working is to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer.