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If you cause your work accident, can you claim workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

Every employee in North Carolina has the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation if they get hurt at work. Someone who only works part-time or who just started at a company the week before can get the same benefits as a full-time worker who has been with the company for years.

The only qualifications for workers’ compensation coverage are having a medical condition related to work and needing either time off or health care because of that condition. Some people believe inaccurate information about workers’ compensation which prevents them from filing a claim.

For example, you may have heard that if a worker is at fault for their own injury, they can’t claim benefits. If you are to blame for your injury, does that mean can’t qualify for workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault form of insurance

Fault for your workplace injury does not factor into eligibility for benefits. Workers’ compensation is primarily a way for employers to protect themselves from the liability of having employees on their payroll.

The company carries coverage that pays for lost wages and medical treatment when workers get hurt on the job or diagnosed with a condition directly related to the work they do. Typically, that coverage means that employees cannot sue their employer because of their medical issues because it is no-fault coverage.

No-fault protection from workers’ compensation also benefits the employees. If you cut your hand on a piece of machinery and needs stitches or slip and fall down the stairs because you have a history of losing your balance, your role in the injury will not deprive you of the right to claim benefits. You can absolutely still receive workers’ compensation benefits even if your mistake on the job is what caused your injury.

There are two exceptions to no-fault workers’ compensation coverage

Although most workers can count on workers’ compensation benefits when they get hurt at work, sometimes workers make decisions that affect their right to claim benefits.

Workers who get hurt in an incident on the job because they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol on the clock may lose their right to claim benefits. If an employer has compelling evidence that a worker intentionally caused an accident or intended to hurt themselves on purpose, then that could also be a reason to deny a worker’s claim.

Unless intoxication or intentional self-injury played a role in your case, your personal contributions to your injury likely won’t affect your workers’ compensation claim. Knowing your rights will help you connect with support for your injury.