What Happens If You Get Injured at Work?
People get injured at work all the time. Indeed, there are countless ways that this might happen, from falling off of a ladder to cutting your hand on the job to throwing out your back. Often, people are injured in ways that are not visible, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. All these injuries and illnesses can end up being very serious. Some of them might even keep you out of work for a long time. With the help of CA Workers' Compensation Attorney, a Los Angeles Workers' Comp Attorney, we will walk you through the various types and filing eligibilities.
Who Gets to File Workers' Comp?
People get hurt at work all the time. The likelihood and frequency will vary by position and field, of course, but it can happen at any time. If it happens to you, you will want to know if your injury or illness qualifies.
First things first, though. To actually be in consideration for workers' compensation, there are a few basic job qualifications. According to Nolo, there are, in fact, four primary criteria that you must fit to be eligible:
- You have to be an employee of a company of some kind.
- The company that employs you has to have some kind of workers' compensation insurance.
- The injury or illness you suffer from has to be work-related in a major capacity.
- This last one is very important. Under no circumstance can you miss your state's reporting deadline(s). The injury itself and the filing of a potential compensation claim are time-sensitive. Miss one of these, and your chance for compensation may disappear.
Those four are the absolute basics. On top of this, there usually exist some exemptions as well. This means that even if you do have employment, you might still not be, in fact, eligible for the benefits.
FindLaw reports that the exemption categories are as follows:
- Workers that do not have documentation.
- Workers that are seasonal.
- Migrant farmers.
- "Domestic" workers, such as babysitters, nannies, caretakers, and the like.
- Workers in the field of agriculture.
If you work in one of these areas, it means you need to check your particular state's local laws about workers' comp. Know whether you and others in your position are actually exempt. If not, then go ahead and file your claim.
The last exception to the above-mentioned prerequisites pertains to staffing agencies. Staffing (or temp) companies often hire workers that are actually employees of their company, not the company that the employee does work for. If this describes your situation, check at the staffing agency about it first.
If it turns out that you are not eligible, do not give up all hope quite yet! There are various alternatives out there that might be able to assist you. These can be lifesavers in a time of difficulty.
FindLaw has also written about federal employees, mariners, shipbuilders, longshoremen, railroad, and coal workers. Each of these has its own particular brand of workers' compensation availability.
What Counts as a Work-Related Injury?
So, you have been able to figure out that you are eligible to file your claim based on the above information. The next bit is actually the tricky part. You need to know whether your particular injury classifies as eligible as well. This is much harder in some ways. It will, of course, entail a certain amount of both context and subtlety. Determining the exact cause of some injuries and illnesses is difficult.
Elsewhere, Nolo states that the first thing you must do is establish work-relation. The legal phrase is long and somewhat technical. In full, it is "arising out of employment and occurring during the course of employment”. What this boils down to is, in some sense, quite simple. You can, first, show that your injury either occurred at, on, or in property by your employer. Or, as a second option, you can prove that your illness was actually caused by the work of your job itself.
(I use the words injury and illness here to mean more or less the same thing. I know it can seem confusing. That said, please do not get caught up in the terms themselves. Injuries and illnesses can both relate to your job and place of work.)
Ultimately, you want to know what kinds of activities or events might qualify you for workers' comp. Again, Nolo has the answer. They mention six distinct eligible causes of work-related injury or illness. (As a side-note, you may be wondering if pre-existing conditions negate your comp claim. Nolo says that they do not, so don't worry on that front.)
First, if you suffered trauma from a repetitive motion or an overuse injury, you might qualify. If your job exposes you to something that makes you sick over time, that also may qualify you. Likewise, hearing loss can end up receiving coverage. The next two are, in some ways, related, but not the same thing. You may suffer mental stress as a result of your job. You also might get depression or anxiety as the result of a physical injury you endured at work. Both of these are often covered. The very last injury is the worst. Of course, I am referring to death as a result of work-related trauma. This is also very often covered by an employer's workers' compensation coverage.
As we have seen, there are many things that determine eligibility. Whether you are actually qualified for workers' compensation depends on many factors. If you have further questions or concerns, consult with an experienced attorney.