If you were injured on the job, you may assume that you are automatically entitled to workers' compensation. This is not necessarily true. While most on-the-job injuries are eligible for workers' comp, there are some—such as those caused by your own negligence, or those caused by unrelated third parties(the highlighted should be replaced with “such as travel to and from work, or those where you could be considered a contractor”)—that may not be eligible. Moreover, it may not be worth your time or effort to pursue a claim for all eligible injuries. If you are reading this now because you were injured at work, your best bet would be to retain the help of a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney in Oklahoma City. In the meantime, you can use this post as your guide when determining how you should follow through with a work-related injury.
When a person is injured on the job or develops an occupational illness, he or she, generally, has only one option for recovery - filing a workers' compensation claim. If the employer has workers' compensation insurance—which it should, unless it falls under one of the exceptions listed on GovDocs.com —the employee is generally required to go through workers' comp. Workers' compensation essentially guarantees that all injured workers receive the medical coverage, wage replacement, and other benefits he or she needs while recovering. However, in order to access these benefits, the employee must prove that his or her injury is compensable.
In order to determine whether or not your injury is eligible, ask yourself if the following statements are true:
- You are an employee of the business and not an independent contractor;
- Your employer is covered by workers' compensation insurance;
- You were hurt as a result of job-related duties; and
Most injuries that occur on the job fall within the scope of employment, which generally means that they are covered by workers' comp. However, if you were doing something outside of your scope of employment, and if your employer did not ask you to perform the activity that caused your injury, you may have trouble proving that you were acting within your employment related duties.
Common injuries covered under workers' comp include diseases, trauma injuries, occupational accidents, and illness caused by exposure to chemicals or other harmful materials throughout a workday, workweek, or year. Some injuries that would not be covered by workers' compensation include:
- Self-inflicted injuries;
- Stress or psychiatric injuries;
- Injuries that happen on the way to work;
- Injuries caused by horseplay or fighting; and
- Injuries incurred while committing a crime, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or while violating company policies.
If you believe that you suffer from a cumulative work injury, such as carpal tunnel or lung cancer, the waters become murkier. However, medical records, records from past employees, and other medical evidence may be sufficient enough to prove your case.
If you were injured on the job, chances are that you have a workers' compensation claim. However, that is not always the case. If you think that you have a case but are told otherwise, contact our Oklahoma workers' compensation lawyers at BDIW Law to discuss possibilities for financial recovery today.