In order to be covered by workers’ compensation, the injury or illness must occur in connection with job-related duties. While most people often think injuries caused by sudden accidents are only covered, equally common claims are for injuries caused by repeated physical motions—such as carpel tunnel due to typing on the computer all day—and physical conditions that are aggravated by work conditions—such as making emphysema worse by airborne chemicals.
What About Injuries Partially Caused by Employees?
Workers’ comp is considered a no-fault system. It doesn’t matter if clumsiness or carelessness was to blame for the accident. However, claims made by employees who injure themselves while intoxicated or fighting have typically been rejected as outside the bounds of “work-related activity.” But in most cases, courts side with the injured worker when such cases are disputed, ruling that the injury is covered as long as the employee’s behavior was not the only contributing factor to the accident.
What About Stress-Related Injuries?
Emotional illness and stress-related digestive issues are commonly being recognized by courts as covered by workers’ compensation benefits. According to the American Institute of Preventive Medicine, stress is at the root of nearly two-thirds of all office visits and plays a significant role in heart disease and cancer. However, only about half the states recognize stress as a valid basis for workers’ comp benefits.
What About Injuries Outside the Scope of Employment?
Commuting is not considered in the course of your employment. Hence, injuries suffered while commuting are not eligible to obtain workers’ compensation. In addition, when you are out for lunch, it is not within the scope of employment.