If you were injured in a workplace accident that was partially or entirely your fault, you may be hesitant to file a workers’ compensation claim, but are you right to feel reluctant to file a claim for benefits?
You may not know this but the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. This means the employer and their insurance company are not concerned about fault, whether the accident was all your fault, all your employer’s fault, or a combination of the two.
Can I Sue My Employer?
Before workers’ compensation laws were enacted, injured workers had no choice but to sue their employers. While in theory this sounds like it would be relatively easy, it was not as simple as it sounds. Generally, it was a worker against an employer’s big money and attorneys and many times, the worker didn’t stand a chance.
It was usually the worker who would lose and they’d have no way to pay their medical bills, recover the income they lost, or support themselves and their families after a workplace accident or occupational disease.
Fortunately, lawmakers realized this inequity and established workers’ compensation to protect injured and ill workers. However, under the workers’ compensation laws, workers are not allowed to file separate lawsuits against their employers when they file workers’ compensation claims.
Can a Claim Be Denied?
When a worker files a claim, they are not guaranteed benefits in all situations. A worker’s claim can be denied if the injury or illness was not work-related or if the worker waited too long to file a claim. A claim can also be denied if:
- The worker was injured while intentionally trying to injure themselves;
- The worker was injured while trying to hurt someone else; or
- The worker was injured while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you were injured on the job and the accident was your fault but you were not trying to hurt yourself or someone else, and you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there is a very good chance that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.