Injuries Not Covered Under Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation exists to help individual who get injured or fall ill on the job. Therefore, only someone hurt or sickened at work or while engaged in activities directly related to fulfilling the duties of their job can claim workers’ comp benefits. The health problem must be significantly disabling, meaning the person has to stop working or accept a lower-paying position for several months. Also, the problem can affect any part of the person’s body or physical functioning. Losing a finger, going deaf or blind, having a heart attack, and developing a permanent lung disease are all examples of injuries and illnesses eligible for workers’ comp.
Distinguishing what counts as a work-related activity sometimes requires going to court. Clarifying the issue somewhat, general rules that have developed over time that indicate that driving a company vehicle during business hours qualifies, but taking your own car to the office in the morning before the start of the business day does not. Similarly, falling while putting on a safety suit in the factory locker room could be what lawyers call compensable, but tripping while dressing for work at home would not be. Parking lot injuries are whole separate category of worker’s comp case law.
Questions about whether an offsite or near-site incident could make you eligible for applying to receive payments from the Ohio workers’ compensation program are best referred to a Cleveland workers’ comp attorney before going through the lengthy process of applying for benefits.
The state-run program to cover injured and ill workers’ medical bills and temporary disability expenses does have a list of circumstances that automatically disqualify applications. It looks like this:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries suffered with under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Injuries suffered while engaging in clearly illegal activities, including trespassing or violating environmental laws
- Injuries suffered while fighting with co-workers
- Injuries suffered while purposely ignoring safety rules, which includes engaging in horseplay
- Worsening of a preexisting disease even when workplace exposures cause flare-ups that make doing one’s job impossible
- Strictly mental difficulties such as stress
This list of workers’ compensation exclusions leave space for interpretation, especially since employers may attempt to convince the program administrators who investigate workers’ comp applications that a hurt or sick worker caused their own health problems. A skilled and caring workers’ comp lawyer in Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, can help a client gather and present evidence to counter such claims.
Options Exist When Workers’ Comp Doesn’t
Speaking with an Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman personal injury attorney could help you explore options other than workers’ compensation. While filing and succeeding with civil lawsuits against one’s employer has become increasingly difficult in Ohio, evidence of reckless indifference to employees’ health and safety remains actionable. Another possibility could be pursuing a defective or dangerous product claim against the manufacturer of a tool or device that inflicted an injury. That tactic can succeed when a machine malfunctions, a hand tool breaks, or a walkway railing or ladder collapses.
To discuss workers’ comp and related issues at no cost, call Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman at (800) 678-3318 or schedule an appointment online.