Does Workers Comp Cover Injuries Caused by Employee Negligence?

Workers Compensation provides financial payments if you're injured, disabled or contract an illness at work. Employers are typically required to carry this coverage, and it pays for medical care, replaces lost income and covers necessary retraining. Sometimes, though, the injury or illness might result from employee negligence. Maybe a heavy barrel fell on you because you were daydreaming while driving the forklift or you didn't wear protective gear, breathed in toxic fumes and now suffer from asthma. In those instances, you need to know whether you can claim workers comp benefits. 

What Injuries are Covered by Workers Comp?

Incidental injuries are usually covered by workers comp. That means if you lift a heavy box without your safety belt and pull a muscle, your medical care is covered. You can also receive workers comp if you suffer from a long-term or recurring illness like carpal tunnel that develops when you don't sit properly at your desk.

What Injuries are not Covered by Workers Comp? 

While almost all workplace injuries, including those that occur because of negligence, are covered by workers comp, several aren't. They include: 

*Self-inflicted injuries - If you try to hurt yourself on purpose, don't count on workers comp to cover your medical treatments. 

*Injuries suffered while committing a crime - Don't expect workers comp to cover medical treatment if you're injured as you break into the cash drawer or commit another crime at work. 

*Injuries suffered when violating company policy - If your company doesn't allow employees to drink on the job, workers comp won't cover injuries that occur because you're drunk at work. Read your employee manual to understand all your company's specific policies. 

Accidents happen at work, and your negligence might be the cause of an injury, illness or disability. Those incidents are typically covered by workers comp. It's a smart move, though, to verify the specifics of your claim when you talk to your human resources manager or worker comp insurance rep and try your best to stay safe on the job. 

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