Workers’ compensation is a wonderful way for employers to support their workers. In fact, these programs are so beneficial that the state of California requires that employers have workers’ compensation insurance. This protects both workers’ and employers in the case of an accident.
Though you can’t sue your employer for personal injury, you can seek a workers’ compensation claim after an injury. The law requires that workplaces do their best to keep workers’ safe. If they don’t, they must pay for the damage caused through workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation claims happen in Yucaipa more often than you may think. It’s fairly easy for honest mistakes and accidents to occur on job sites of all kinds. This leads to injuries and workers’ comp claims. You do not have to work at a dangerous or exotic job to encounter a workers’ compensation claim.
Many people wonder if all of these cases end in a settlement. Though the majority of them do, some do not. This is because, though the benefits protect workers, there are limitations to them. A workplace may not need to pay a settlement under certain circumstances.
Workers’of all industries should understand the limitations of the workers’ compensation program. This knowledge may protect you in the future and ensure you know how to fight a workers’ compensation case if you ever need to.
What Is a Workplace Injury?
Before we discuss what disqualifies an injury from workers’ compensation, it’s best to understand what qualifies as a workplace injury. You may think that it’s any injury that happens at a place of employment, but it’s much more nuanced than that.
To have a workplace injury that qualifies for workers’ compensation, it has to be work-related. Though this may be obvious, it actually eliminates a significant number of incidents from workers’ compensation settlements.
For an injury to be “work-related” and therefore qualify for workers’ compensation, the employee has to be following company rules and regulations. The specifics of these rules will vary from workplace to workplace. No matter what your specific workplace rules may be, they should have been made clear to you upon employment. Many workplaces do this by giving new employees a workplace handbook.
To clarify, you do not need to be directly doing your job; it’s possible to be injured while moving about your workplace and still qualify for workers’ compensation. For example, if you trip on the way to the bathroom and break your arm, youwould still qualify for workers’ compensation. Though you weren’t doing your job at the time, going to the restroom is within the scope of acceptable workplace behavior.
However, you may not qualify for a settlement if you are doing something at work that is not allowed by your workplace rules and basic safety guidelines. For example, if you and a work friend begin messing around with some equipment and get hurt, it’s unlikely that you’ll see a settlement. This is because you were not acting within the scope of workplace behaviors when you got hurt. Plus, there is likely a rule against unauthorized machine use in your employee handbook.
Drugs and Alcohol
One key way that employers often get out of paying for workers’ compensation settlements is through drug and alcohol tests. Many require that employees submit to a drug test to receive a workers’ compensation settlement. If you fail, you are disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation settlements. A positive test will cause them to argue that you were under the influence while at work, which puts you out of the scope of your job. It also violates most employee handbooks. They’ll likely argue this whether or not you were actually intoxicated at work.
This becomes an issue with recreational marijuana. As many people know, marijuana stays in one’s system for a significant amount of time. This means that if you legally ingested cannabis over the weekend and then you’re injured on Monday and drug tested, you’ll likely fail. This could prevent you from receiving the settlement that you rightfully deserve.
This is just one of the reasons that it’s important to have an attorney on your side during a workers’ compensation situation. We can help defend you and ensure that you don’t lose your workers’ compensation settlement over a technicality such as this one.
Settlements Will Differ
If you end up with a workers’ compensation settlement, as many injured workers’ do, it’s important to know that yours will be unique. Even if your injury appears similar to someone else’s, you may receive a different settlement than they did. This is because all workers’ compensation settlements are tailored to the specific situation. Aspects of the settlement may include:
- Payment for medical bills
- Long- or short-term disability
- Life pension payments
- Vocational retraining
- Death benefits
Many minor situations do not require vocational retraining or life pension payments, while more severe ones do. Death benefits only apply to situations in which an employee dies from their workplace injury. These benefits are paid to the employee’s family as compensation for burial expenses and lost income.
Obviously, not all workplace accidents end in death or even severe disability. The nuance in these cases is why you may not receive the same settlement as another worker or friend who was hurt at work. It truly depends on your situation.
Call Our Attorneys
The key to maximizing your settlement is having an attorney to help you navigate your situation. Without legal counsel, it’s easy to receive less than you truly deserve. In fact, it can be difficult to know what you are eligible for without an attorney’s help. What’s more, state and federal programs may help supplement a workers’ compensation settlement. These programs have strict guidelines, requirements, and deadlines. With the help of an attorney, you can be assured that you have access to all of the programs and funding for which you are eligible.
Our team at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates has decades of experience in Yucaipa workers’ compensation cases. We offer you the best chance at the settlement you need and deserve from your workplace injury.
For more information, please contact us online today.