Worker’s compensation can cover various expenses resulting from a job-related injury or illness. This benefit is mandatory in most states, though it excludes federal employees, railroad and longshore employees, volunteers and independent contractors. In addition, each state has its own rules concerning this benefit.
What Does Worker’s Compensation Cover?
The benefit provides monetary compensation to employees for injuries or illnesses they sustain while carrying out their job duties. It covers:
- Medical treatments
- Long-term care
- Lost wages
- Disability benefits
- Funeral costs
What Personal Injuries or Illnesses Does Workers Compensation Exclude?
Sustaining an injury while executing your job duties qualifies you for worker’s compensation. Still, not every injury ensures you may receive this benefit. For instance, worker’s compensation does not cover minor issues, including scrapes, cuts, bruises or headaches that are treatable using a first-aid kit.
Also, injuries occurring outside the workplace while carrying out your job duties qualify for coverage, whereas injuries while commuting to and from work do not.
You will also not qualify for worker’s compensation if you sustain an injury while engaging in horseplay, fighting with another employee, or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Can I Sue My Employer for My Personal Injury or Illness?
The main objective of worker’s compensation coverage is to protect both employers and employees. Workers who initiate lawsuits following their injuries can cause irreparable financial harm to their employers. Thus, when employees file worker’s compensation claims, they agree not to sue their employer in exchange for funding to meet their expenses.
The benefit also covers retraining workers to assume new roles when their injuries prevent them from continuing their previous work.
Still, there are some circumstances in which you may sue your employer for a work-related injury, such as when:
- Your employer deliberately harms you
- Your employer’s defective product injures you
- Your employer fires you in retaliation for your claim
- Your employer refuses to submit your claim
- Your employer’s sub-contractor causes your injury at work
- Your employer’s gross negligence causes your injury
- A co-worker causes your work-related injury
- You do not qualify for worker’s compensation
In such cases, you may file a personal injury claim within your state’s statute of limitations. You might also sue your co-worker for injuries that are not work-related or resulting from horseplay and altercations. A personal injury lawsuit may result in an award for pain and suffering, which worker’s compensation does not cover.