FAQ: Workers' Compensation Law
Q: How do I know if my injury is covered by workers' compensation?
A: There are two main factors that determine your eligibility status. The first is whether you are an employee, and the second is whether your injury happened as a result of your job duties. However, meeting either of these two factors is not a guarantee that your injury will be covered by workers' compensation. Depending on your state’s rules, some employees, such as agricultural workers, are not covered under workers' compensation law for their workplace injuries. Being intoxicated at work or intentionally causing injury to yourself might also disqualify you from receiving workers' compensation benefits. If you aren’t sure if you qualify for workers comp benefits, you should consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney to get advice about your rights.
Q: If I’m receiving workers' comp benefits, but I return to work, am I still able to receive workers' compensation benefits?
A: The short answer to this question is a resounding "maybe." If your return to work allows you to receive wages that are equal to or greater than what you were earning prior to your injury, then your workers’ comp benefits will likely stop. However, if you are still losing wages because of your injury, you might be able to continue to receiving wage loss benefits. The wage loss benefits you receive will most likely be for a lesser amount.
Q: Because workers' compensation is a "no-fault" system, can I recover workers' comp benefits no matter what I did?
A: Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. While most injuries are covered by workers' compensation, it does not mean that you have the freedom to injure yourself at work and then attempt to collect benefits. If an employee is injured because they are intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs, they won’t be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
Q: Can I recover workers' compensation benefits, even if I wasn’t actually at work when my injury occurred?
A: This will depend on the laws in your particular state, and the facts of your case. Usually, if the injury "arises out of" and occurs "within the scope of your employment," it will be covered. An example of this scenario would be if an employee is a traveling salesperson and suffers an injury in the hotel where they are staying for business purposes. Workers’ comp benefits might also be awarded if an employee was injured while running errands for their employer outside of the workplace. Injuries that occur at an employer-sponsored recreational event might also be eligible for workers’ comp.
Have you been injured at work? Is your employer trying to deny your workers’ compensation benefits? Contact our team of Bay Area workers’ comp attorneys to get help with your case today.