Workers’ Compensation exists to protect both employee and employer in the event a worker is injured, becomes ill, or dies on the job. Workers’ comp protects injured employees by covering eligible medical bills and providing disability payments while the employee is unable to work. Employers, on the other hand, are protected from being sued by injured employees for damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills, and emotional trauma.
Covered injuries don’t necessarily need to be sudden and catastrophic, such as falls from high places and severe chemical burns. Even relatively minor injuries that occur over long periods of time, and pre-existing conditions that are exacerbated by the working environment can be eligible.
Almost all work-related injuries and illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation, but exceptions do exist. As long as the injury occurs “during the course of employment,” it is typically covered. “During the course of employment” doesn’t necessarily mean during normal office hours and at the normal place of business. For example, an insurance agent would be covered by workers’ comp while on an after-hours sales appointment at a client’s house. Additionally, injuries suffered while participating in work-related activities, such as at a company softball game, may also be covered. If you think you may have a case but aren’t sure it’s always a good idea to call a Massachusetts workers compensation lawyer to fully understand what benefits are available to you.
What If the Worker is At-Fault For the Injury?
Workers’ compensation is basically a no-fault system. Even if the employee’s injury was a result of his or her own carelessness, coverage still applies. However, it’s a different story when alcohol is involved. Simply being intoxicated isn’t always enough to refuse a claim. In some states, coverage will only be denied if the injury was a direct result of the worker’s intoxication. Other commonly excluded injuries are those suffered by a worker who engages in violent behavior, starts a fight, self-inflicted injuries, and those caused by the use of illegal, non-prescription drugs. Many states, however, still cover injuries caused by these actions, as long as the employee’s behavior wasn’t the sole cause of the injury.
Are Repetitive Stress Injuries Covered?
Over six million work-related injuries and illnesses are reported in the US every year. The fastest growing types of on-the-job injuries are those caused by repetitive motions. Also known as repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), they can lead to debilitating, long-term pain and disabilities. The most common RSI, by far, is carpal tunnel syndrome. This excruciatingly painful condition is most often experienced by office workers who spend their days using a computer keyboard. Other parts of the body can be affected as well. When our bodies are forced to perform the same, awkward motions day in and day out for long periods of time, the potential for serious injury increases significantly. The good news is, when RSIs are detected early, they can often be effectively treated with rest, medication, exercise, and light rehabilitation. Fortunately for US workers, repetitive stress injuries are usually covered by workers’ comp.
Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD
Stress-related injuries, such as emotional illnesses, are often covered by workers’ comp. According to the American Institute for Preventative Medicine, stress is responsible for approximately 75% of all visits to the doctor. Not all states recognize stress-related injuries and emotional illnesses as a legitimate cause for a workers’ comp claim. However, more and more are beginning to acknowledge the connection between mind and body health. Additionally, workers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after witnessing a traumatic event, for example, are typically eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Compensation Injuries
At Altman & Altman, LLP we have nearly 50 years of experience protecting the rights of Boston’s workforce. If you have been injured in a work-related accident, it is in your best interest to contact a Boston workers’ compensation attorney without delay. Although most on-the-job injuries are eligible for coverage, initial claims are often denied for myriad reasons. This can cause a significant delay in receiving disability benefits, and compensation for costly medical expenses. Our skilled, knowledgeable workers’ comp attorneys will examine every detail of your case to determine the best strategy for moving forward. We will be by your side throughout the entire process. Contact Altman & Altman today for a free consultation about your case.