Getting Hurt at Work and Boss Says It’s Your Fault

A workplace injury can be a very frightening and serious thing. Even in cases where the accident is milder, the possible financial burden can still be quite daunting. Fortunately, throughout most of the United States, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, so you should be able to get your expenses covered. What if your employer tries to deny your claim by saying you are at fault?

While it may end up making getting your compensation more of a hassle, the good news is, they don’t really have a legal foot to stand on. If you are hurt at work, you can file a complaint regardless of your contribution to the actual accident, as compensation insurance is no-fault based.

You can only be denied coverage if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, were engaging in non-work activities (like fighting or playing games), or failed to notify your employer about your accident in a timely manner. If you were standing on the top step of the ladder and fell, even though you weren’t behaving in the safest manner, you are still covered by workers’ compensation.

Effects on a Workers’ Comp Claim

When your employer fails to report your accident, they are delaying your benefits. However, the law is still on your side to receive those benefits. If your employer refuses to properly report your accident to the Department of Labor, you have to immediately work to make sure you get your compensation. You need to contact the State Workers’ Compensation Board. They will let you know the steps you need to take to ensure compensation.

While your employer can cause you extra hassle at a time when you need it least, they cannot block your workers’ comp claim, as long as you did not commit a major violation or fail to ensure that your claim was filed on time. When you meet these standards, your workers’ compensation is not at risk. However, your employer may be.

By refusing to file your workers’ compensation claim, your employer is committing a major violation of their duty of responsibility. By doing so, they are opening themselves up to possible legal action. Taking retaliation against an employee for filing a workers’ comp claim is highly illegal. It is in an employer’s best interest to file your workers’ comp claim, even if you were responsible for your own accident.

Effects on a Lawsuit

For employees seeking to sue their employer after an accident, things play out a bit differently. You may aim to seek payment beyond what is provided through workers’ compensation, or you may find that your employer does not carry workers’ compensation. Whatever the reason, when filing a lawsuit, fault is a key component.

If your employer claims that you were at fault for your accident and is able to back up that claim, your lawsuit is going to be dead in the water. You will only win compensation from your lawsuit if you are able to prove that the fault for your accident was with your employer. Otherwise, any compensation you receive will be limited to workers’ compensation.

Things get complicated in a situation where your employer is illegally not carrying workers’ compensation insurance, but you are at fault for your accident. In situations like this, you can typically still win money in a lawsuit. However, the payout may be restricted to how much you would receive had your employer been properly carrying workers’ compensation insurance. In this type of situation, it is largely up to the discretion of a judge.

Best Practices

Your best way to avoid a situation of an employer trying to block your access to funds by claiming that you were at fault is to simply practice safety in your job. By following all safety guidelines you are more likely to avoid an accident in the first place. You also assure that if you do get in an accident, the law will be on your side through workers’ compensation claims, as well as any potential lawsuit.

When your employer is not following their duty, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer to help ensure you receive the funds to which you are entitled is always worth considering.

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