Worker's Compensation and Fault

Can I Still File a Claim if I Caused an Accident?

If you become injured or ill while on the job, you may be entitled to financial compensation in the form of workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation is designed to help injured employees who need to pay their medical bills and make up for lost wages due to missed work.

Most employers across most states are required to hold some form of workers’ compensation insurance.

If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, it usually means you are giving up the right to sue your employer for your injuries or illness.

No-Fault System

Fault and Worker's Comp

Most workers’ compensation programs operate as a no-fault system. This means that whether your injury or illness was due to the fault of your employer or a result of your own negligence, you will still be entitled to receive compensation.

Examples of workplace injuries or illnesses that may be the fault of your employer include injuries caused by faulty or unsafe work facilities, diseases caused by the toxic nature of the work, accidents off of work property but in a company-owed vehicle or property, and more.

Other eligible scenarios include becoming injured during a lunch break on company property, while taking a work-related lunch, or at a company picnic or training event offsite.

Even mental illness caused by workplace stress may cause you to be eligible for workers’ compensation.

As it is a no-fault system, if you were injured because of your own negligence or wrongdoing, you’ll still be able to get workers compensation.

This includes an injury caused by ignoring your employer’s instructions or posted signage.

Scenarios Without Coverage

Laws for workers’ compensation vary from state to state, but usually, if you hold some sort of domestic work, such as housekeeping or being a nanny for a family, you probably aren’t required to be covered by workers’ compensation.

The same is true for agricultural work, seasonal work, and work for independent contractors. If you are an undocumented immigrant, you are probably not covered, although some states, such as Arizona, Texas, and California do offer workers’ compensation for undocumented workers.

Most states are split on whether activities such as horseplay with other coworkers, getting injured while leaving work to do a personal errand but still on the clock, and intentionally and recklessly harming yourself while on the job will disqualify you from workers’ compensation eligibility.

Also, if you were injured on the job while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, you will not be able to receive workers’ compensation for your injuries.

If you are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against your employer.

In this case, you would determine fault as you would for a regular personal injury claim: by determining if your employer’s negligence caused your injuries.

Getting Help for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation claims can be challenging to win and a confusing process to navigate.

This is especially true if you work for a larger company with an expansive legal team that may dispute the facts of your accident.

You should always contact a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to help you with your case and answer any questions you may have.