Injured On The Job? Fight Back

Can a worker’s mistake bar them from workers’ compensation benefits?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Most Georgia businesses need to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. If a company has more than three employees, Georgia law requires them to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If a worker gets hurt on the job, they can file a claim for crucial benefits accordingly. Workers’ compensation coverage can help people pay their bills by providing disability pay and reduce the financial strain they experience by providing medical coverage.

Unfortunately, many workers do not assert themselves when they need workers’ compensation benefits. Some people believe urban legends about workers’ compensation. Other times, employers may try to trick them out of filing a claim. Is it true that a worker is not eligible for workers’ compensation if they are at fault for their injury because they made a mistake on the job?

Fault rarely influences eligibility

Every Georgia workers’ compensation case is unique, as every work environment has different hazards. Workers can unintentionally injure themselves in countless different ways. They might forget to perform a step while working at a machine in a manufacturing setting and injure themselves. They might run through a warehouse and end up struck by a forklift or slipping in a spill on the floor.

Those personal errors do not automatically eliminate eligibility for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation coverage is a form of no-fault insurance. Even if an employer has video footage showing that the worker was to blame for the incident, that would not necessarily prevent them from getting benefits. The injured employee does not need to prove that they are without fault nor establish that the company is to blame for their injuries. Instead, the main requirement is clear proof that their medical condition directly relates to their employment.

Of course, there are some exceptions to the no-fault rule for workers’ compensation. If there is proof supporting an employer’s claim that a worker hurt themselves on purpose, possibly with the intent of committing workers’ compensation fraud, then that might render them ineligible for benefits. A failed drug or alcohol test after an incident on the job could also affect the worker’s eligibility. However, employers generally need to prove that the employee was both under the influence on the job and that the chemical impairment detected by tests was the factor that ultimately caused their injury.  Likewise, proof that an employee was horseplaying at the time of injury will affect eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

Unless someone’s situation falls into one of those relatively rare scenarios, their mistakes on the job probably won’t prevent them from filing a workers’ compensation claim. Learning more about Georgia’s rules for workers’ compensation benefits by seeking legal guidance may help those who have been injured on the job and are feeling worried about the future.