Can I Still Claim Workers’ Compensation if the Accident Was My Fault?
Lonnie works at a warehouse organizing packages before they get shipped out. While at work one day, he dropped one of the shipping boxes that was very heavy. The box fell on his foot, causing it to break. When he saw the doctor, surgery was mentioned. That means missing work. How can he pay the bills? Is it possible to claim workers’ compensation though he caused the workplace accident?
This is a question we get often from our clients. Not every accident that happens on the job is caused by someone else or through negligence. Sometimes an accident is just that — an accident. But you still have bills to pay, especially if you’re injured. And workers’ comp is just when another party is at fault, right?
If an employee is responsible for his injuries, then no, this does not affect his/her right to receive benefits nor will benefits be reduced. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.
When You Can’t File for Workers’ Compensation
Here are a few reasons when you may not receive benefits after an at-fault accident:
- Self-inflicted injury. If a worker intentionally injures him or herself in order to get workers’ compensation, then benefits will be denied or reduced. An exception to this is if the self-inflicted injury was caused by stress or another injury.
- Intoxication. Let’s say Lonnie was drunk while working. Since his coordination is off, he fumbled the box and caused the accident. Because he was intoxicated, this could be a denial of benefits unless he can prove it didn’t contribute to the accident.
- Violation of safety policies. For example, it says in the employee handbook that if a box is too heavy to handle, the employee must request for help in lifting the box. Lonnie failed to request help, thinking he could do it on his own. The workers’ compensation insurer may believe this was in violation of the company’s safety policy and deny benefits.
Denied Workers’ Comp? We Can Help!
Workers’ compensation claims can be difficult to manage. It can be easy to receive a denial from the insurance company. If that’s a case, then you may want to speak to an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to help you through the process. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.