Workers’ compensation law provides you with financial and medical benefits if you are injured at work. You might be wondering, however, how to define whether or not my injury is work-related. In the following, we intend to clarify the answers to such questions for you.
In some cases, the insurance company will require you to have an Independent Medical Examination (IME) to verify your claim. The Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center in Las Vegas is one of the few certified centers to perform IME.
What is Workers’ Compensation Law?
If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, your employer is responsible for helping you. Most employers in each state must carry workers’ compensation insurance, which pays a portion of a worker’s regular salaries while they’re recovering from a work-related injury. If you are eligible for workers’ compensation law, you can file a claim for benefits. But if your employer fails to provide coverage, they may be subject to fines, criminal charges, or lawsuits.
Workers’ compensation coverage
Depending on your state, certain types of jobs may not be covered by workers’ compensation requirements. For example, the following jobs are not covered by this law:
- Seasonal workers
- Agricultural workers
- Domestic workers
- Undocumented workers
Just because you’re not eligible for this law does not necessarily mean your employer doesn’t have any responsibility for your work-related injury. For instance, if you are an independent contractor, your contract may mandate the use of arbitration for disputes such as injuries.
Is your injury work-related?
You need to make sure your injury really is work-related, which means it happened while you were doing your job duties or something else on behalf of your employer. For instance, if you injured your back in a fall, got burned by chemicals on your skin, or met an accident while work goods deliveries, your injury is considered work-related, and you can seek workers’ compensation interests. Repeated motion exposure at work is another aspect of work-related injuries. Wrist injury due to typing or losing your hearing ability due to constant exposure to loud noise are examples of this type of injury.
Work-related physical injuries usually include the following:
- Muscles, boned and tendons
- Feet, wrists, hands, and ankles
- Head, neck, and face
- Back and shoulders
Stress-related injuries and occupational diseases also include Workers’ compensation. Occupational diseases include conditions that are created or aggravated as a result of performing job duties. For example, people working in the healthcare sector are at risk for contagious infections. Asthma, COPD, silicosis, and asbestosis are other examples of occupational diseases. Some occupational diseases occur immediately, and some over the years of exposure.
Keep in mind that all injuries must be communicated to the employer. There can be other instances that may challenge the workers’ eligibility to gain compensation benefits:
- Injuries that happen during an employee’s lunch break, or going anywhere outside the workplace premises for personal work, may not fall into the category of the work-related injury.
- Injuries while at company events may or may not be considered under workers’ compensation, particularly if the employer does not expect the worker to be a part of the off-duty event.
- Traveling on a business mission or driving a company vehicle are covered under workers’ compensation law. However, injuries that happen during commuting to and from the workplace are not covered.
- If an employee is injured due to violating the safety rules in the workplace or engages in misconduct that results in harm, such as consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs, they cannot use workers’ compensation benefits.