Workers’ Compensation FAQ

We’ve noticed while building our blog we’ve had quite a few questions from visitors, and they all tend to be variations on the same few questions, so we thought we’d create a FAQ to answer some of those questions at a glance!

Under work comp laws can I receive payments for any injury or illness?

You are only eligible for workers comp payments if you:

  • are hurt on the job
  • aggravate a pre-existing injury
  • develop a work-related illness, such as asbestosis or carpal tunnel syndrome

Generally, the rule is injuries that occur in the workplace, or that occur while “furthering” the business of your employer, such as travelling to a work-related appointment, will qualify you for workers comp payments. This includes if you are working on site outside of your office; for example loft conversion for a company like this one: http://www.mertonloftconversion.com/.

You can ask for work comp payments if you are at fault for your injury at work. Generally, accidents that occur while commuting to or from work, or during work breaks, do not qualify for Pennsylvania workers compensation.

Under work comp laws, can I receive payments for repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel?

If you can prove that your injury is caused by your work, then yes, you can ask for workers compensation. Work that requires repetetive motion can cause RSI injuries such as Tennis Elbow and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Under work comp laws, can I receive payments if I was injured while volunteering?

These situations are slightly more complex; workers comp normally requires you to be paid for your work in some way, if you are volunteering, then you are not being paid. However, certain organisations; particularly those that provide a public benefit such as ambulance workers, firefighters and special or community police are able to provide their workers with workers comp.

We highly recommend you contact a lawyer specialising in workers comp in order to investigate if you are eligible for workers’ comp during volunteering work you are carrying out.

Under work comp laws, can I receive payments if I was injured in a car accident while driving to a work seminar?

This has been a topic of much discussion: Yes, you ARE eligible for workers comp in this situation, as you were doing required work for your job in travelling to a seminar they’ve asked you to attend.

Though workers comp doesn’t apply while commuting to or from work, when you are travelling to a business appointment, or another event where your presence is required, you’re then travelling while “engaged in the business” of your employer. This then becomes time when you are eligible.

Under work comp laws, can I receive payments if my work injury was my own fault?

You can receive payments if your work injury was your own fault, and regardless of who’s fault it was. There are caveats to this which we will explain in a moment though. It’s important to note that intentional, self-inflicted injuries are not covered under workers compensation.

Under work comp laws, can I receive payments if I am a traveling salesman and I’m injured in a car accident while driving home from a sales convention?

Generally speaking, workers who have no fixed place of work – like consultants, traveling salesmen, and freelancers – are covered once they take to the road. This is because the transient nature of their business. Work comp covers just about every injury in this case

Under work comp laws, can I receive payments if I am injured at work while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

In this case, it’s most likely you won’t be eligible for workers comp payments. You would have to prove that your injury was not caused by your inebriation, and this is notoriously difficult to do. As well as this, most companies have a no tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol which you would be in breach of regardless of if you were injured or not. This would invalidate you for any benefits.

Under work comp laws, can I receive payments if I am injured on my lunch break?

The likelyhood is you would not be eligible. Generally, any personal breaks and time taken are not covered under workers comp laws. Breaks, smoking breaks, lunch and commuuting to and from work are times you are not covered.

The exception to this is if you are travelling to a lunch hosted by your employer, then you have a chance of receiving workers comp payments. This is another time we would recommend you see a lawyer specialising in workers comp.

Can I receive work comp payments if a previous injury was aggravated on my current job?

This very much depends on if your injury is related, but a new one that has occured due to your job, or a re-occurence of the old injury. If the case is the former, then you will be eligible for workers comp, however, if it’s the latter, things become much more complex.

If your pre-existing injury re-occurs or becomes aggravated due to work, then we highly recommend you get in touch with a lawyer to discuss the situation.

Can I receive work comp payments if I was injured at home while doing work for my employer?

This case depends on if you were asked by your employer to work from home or you chose to do so yourself. If you chose to, then you wouldn’t be eligible for workers’ comp. If your employer asked you, then you will be covered as this was required by your employer.

Can I receive work comp payments if a scar results from a work-related injury?

Absolutely. If you were to receive a scar due to your work, then you would be able to gain additional workers comp. You don’t need to have missed any work days due to the scar to gain the comp as well.

We hope this FAQ has been of use to you!

What role does OSHA play in Workers’ Comp?

While your Workers’ Compensation won’t be paid out by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), they play an important role in the prevention of injury, providing support and ensuring that procedures are kept when claiming for compensation, and in aftercare and changes to be made when an accident happens.

Prevention of Injury

OSHA is directly responsible for making sure employers take every precaution they can to make sure their employees’ health and safety at work is taken care of. The employer must do everything they reasonably can to prevent faulty or aging equipment, poor practice, inadequate procedures and malpractice from doing harm to their employees. Workers are also responsible for following procedures and using common sense in order to prevent harm to them or their peers.

OSHA will periodically implement new rules and guidelines as it learns more about the dangers in each workplace, and make their rules more efficient in order to aid workers. They will then enforce these rules on workplaces to ensure workers’ health and safety are protected. Any companies that ignore OSHA’s warnings will be fined.

Providing Support

OSHA can provide support during an injury claim by having access to injury and workplace health records that are provided by the employer. Anytime an injury – No matter the extent of it – occurs in the workplace, it must be recorded. This means that when you are injured at work, you can then refer to this record in order to provide evidence to the insurance agents and courts. Once this occurs, then OSHA will double-check the information and confirm it with the insurance agents if needed.

They can also provide support by ensuring that these standards and measures are kept up in the workplace. They will randomly and periodically check a workplace is following the correct measures for recording injuries, and if the workplace isn’t, then the employer will be fined.

However, be aware if they find that you, or a work colleague are responsible for the injury by not following correct procedures, or knowingly using faulty equipment without reporting it, then they will be honest in that you are responsible for the accident.

Aftercare

Once an injury occurs at work, if it is caused by the employer or workplace, rather than the worker, OSHA may investigate the cause of the injury and if it is something that the employer can reasonably change to aid in keeping workers’ healthy and safe, then OSHA will ask the employer to implement the change. OSHA may also – if seen to be required – ask the industry as a whole to make the requested change.

In the case that the employer wasn’t following a regulation or act that was put in place by OSHA, then they will investigate the employers and directors at the company, and if found to be wilfully ignoring these regulations, they will be fined and in the worst cases, imprisoned for manslaughter or murder.

This is especially important in an industry that all uses the same tools or procedures as if you are hurt, then many others may be over the long run too. This frequently happens when new methods of working are introduced or new materials are created or found and used in workplaces.

It is important to note that OSHA will not be responsible for your compensation fees in any way; they don’t hold money from the employer as insurance agents do, and they will not go to court for or against you, but they can provide evidence for the court to take in your case. This evidence could either aid or harm your case, as the circumstances dictate.

If you want to find out more about OSHA, then do visit the website linked at the top of this article. If you want to ask us any questions, then send us an email!

What to look for in a lawyer

Firstly, a big thank you to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENJdcIRoTf0 for some of the information contained in this post!

In the unfortunate event that you suffer an injury at work and need to find a lawyer that can help you apply for workers’ compensation benefits, you may be wondering what you should look for in a lawyer. We’ll try and give you some guidance in this blog post.

What you should look for in a lawyer to represent you

Experience

The most important thing you should look for in a lawyer representing you is experience. You should search for a lawyer that has specialized experience in the field of workers compensation and knows the pitfalls and hidden dangers to watch out for, as well as the best way to handle any situation that arises.

Success Rate

Obviously, as these lawyers will be fighting for your cause in the case, you want to make sure that the lawyers you choose have a track record of winning cases for their clients. There are a few ways you can do this; finding client testimonials, Checking out their Google reviews, or if you wanted to be very thorough, you could look through the court’s records for instances of the lawyer’s cases.

Honesty

You want to make sure you choose a lawyer with honesty. Lawyers have a bad reputation for dishonesty, so when you meet with yours, you want to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible in their presence. If you feel comfortable they are telling the truth, then so will others, and trust is how court cases are won.

Communication Skills

Lawyers make their living through their communication skills. If they were unable to communicate they wouldn’t be able to get their point across in the courtroom, they wouldn’t be able to interpret evidence and they wouldn’t be able to understand what people mean rather than say. If a lawyer has poor communication skills, they would be unable to efficiently speak to you, their client, insurance agents or the courtroom productively.

Commitment

You have to be sure your lawyer is committed to working with you and giving you the best service possible. This doesn’t just mean that they want to win your case but are also committed to making your life better, easier to work with them and making sure the process of taking your employer or insurance agent to court is as easy as possible. They must be committed to making sure your life is as easy as possible following your injury if you need time to recover.

Cost

And last but not least, the cost of the lawyers. There are two main schools of thought when it comes to fees for lawyers: “No Win, No Fee”; those that charge nothing upfront and only take a percentage of the benefits you earn as a result of the court case, and those that do charge upfront and don’t take a percentage.

Which one you choose will be a personal decision depending on your financial situation, but we would always recommend paying up-front for a lawyer if you can afford to. This is because not only will you most likely have less to gain if you give a percentage of your final benefits to your legal team, and end up paying more in the long run, but also those that charge upfront know how good their service is and so price accordingly. They are confident they can fulfill your case which improves your chances of winning.

We hope this guide has been helpful!