Dec 2022

Can You Still File for Workers’ Compensation If the Accident Was Your Fault?

A factory worker with a finger injury is helped by a co-worker.

Workers’ compensation is an important safety net for people who are injured while on the job. If you’ve been hurt at work, then you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits to cover the cost of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses and a percentage of your lost wages. But what happens if you’re injured as a result of your own actions? Can you still get workers’ comp even if the injury was your fault?

In most cases, the answer is yes. You can still file a claim and receive workers’ compensation benefits even if the work accident was your fault. However, there are some caveats to this rule that are worth noting. Here’s what you should know.

How does fault affect workers’ compensation?

In short, it doesn’t. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident; all that matters is that you were on the job when it happened.

There are certain exceptions, which we’ll get to in a moment. However, if you were injured while performing regular job duties and weren’t doing anything egregiously wrong, you will likely be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Remember, the workers’ compensation system is designed to provide financial assistance for employees who are injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. That said, it is important to make sure that you fully understand how the process works by seeking advice from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in your area.

What are some exceptions to the no-fault workers’ comp rule?

If you were injured while engaging in unsafe behavior, such as refusing to wear proper safety equipment, then your workers’ comp claim may be denied because you were engaging in “willful misconduct,” that is, putting yourself in a dangerous situation where you’re likely to be injured. Even though workers’ comp is a no-fault system, if your employer believes that the work accident was caused by gross negligence or deliberate disregard of safety rules, they may deny your claim.

Additionally, if it is found that the accident was caused by alcohol or drug use on the job, your claim may be rejected on that basis. Your claim can also be denied if you intentionally injured yourself or if you were hurt in a fight you started.

If your employer or their insurance company has denied your workers’ compensation claim, it is important to understand your legal rights. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help evaluate your case and ensure you are treated fairly throughout the workers’ compensation process. They can also advise you on how to appeal the denial of your claim, if necessary.

How do I file a workers’ comp claim if I am at fault?

Whether you were at fault or not, you have rights as an injured worker. However, to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must follow the process.  This involves notifying your employer that you were injured in a work accident, filing the appropriate paperwork, and providing documentation of your injury and how it was caused—all within very strict deadlines.

The key is to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who knows the laws and how the workers’ compensation system works in your state. At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we can help you understand your rights, determine the best course of action to get the compensation you deserve, and guide you through the entire process.

No matter how your work accident occurred, you still have options to recover compensation for your losses. To learn more about how our law firm can help you, contact us today for a free case evaluation. We have three offices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and proudly serve injured workers in both states.

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