Can I Get Workers’ Compensation For My Injury If I Was At Fault?

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Can I Get Workers’ Compensation For My Injury If I Was At Fault?

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Posted By DAM Firm | December 1 2022 | Workers' Comp

Nearly every employee in the state of California is covered by workers’ compensation laws. With very few exceptions, every employer is required to carry this type of insurance for their employees. However, will you still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you cause your workplace injury? The answer is yes – you will almost certainly be able to recover compensation, even if the injury was your fault. There are some exceptions, but these are few and far between.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation as a No-Fault Insurance System

In the state of California, workers’ compensation insurance is considered a no-fault insurance system. This means that individuals will be entitled to benefits regardless of who caused the injury, with very few exceptions.

For example, let us suppose that Jim is working at a construction site and spills his drink next to his work area. Jim sees the spill but wants to wait until his break to clean it up so he can get his current project completed. Unfortunately, Jim forgets about the spill, steps in the liquid, and slips and falls. If Jim sustains a broken arm as a result of this slip and fall, he will still be able to recover benefits through the workers’ compensation system.

Regardless of whether a worker causes their own injury or the injury is caused by a coworker or the employer, or if the incident was simply an accident, they will still be able to recover benefits in California. There is no need to prove fault. All an employee has to do is report the injury to their employer and file a workers’ compensation claim, and they should be able to recover benefits for their medical expenses as well as a portion of their lost wages if they cannot work while they recover.

Exceptions to Recovering Compensation

Even though individuals should be able to recover compensation if they sustain an injury while performing job-related duties, there are some exceptions to the no-fault system. Individuals may not be able to recover compensation if they cost their own injury due to them being intoxicated and impaired by alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal. In most situations, individuals who sustain workplace injuries will have to take a drug test when they seek medical assistance.

Additionally, individuals who sustained injuries as a result of horse playing, practical jokes, or roughhousing in the workplace will likely not be able to recover compensation for their losses. This is because it is considered as taking actions that are not job-related duties, and it is likely the insurance carrier or the employer will deny benefits.

We do want to point out that, even though insurance carriers or an employer may try to deny a claim if a person has a preexisting condition, individuals should still be able to recover benefits.

We encourage any individual who sustains a workplace injury but is having a hard time recovering compensation to reach out to an attorney for help. A skilled workplace injury lawyer in California can examine the facts of the case and then represent their client at any administrative hearing necessary. An Orange County workers’ compensation attorney will have the resources needed to stand up to the insurance carriers or the employers.

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