Eligibility for Worker’s Compensation
Wondering what constitutes a worker’s compensation claim?When are you eligible, what type of injuries are “compensable”? Pretty much, if you are at work or performing a task for your employer, and you get hurt, you are eligible to file a compensation claim. BUT there are exceptions. If you are a volunteer, or if you did something / went somewhere that you should not have been doing or not have gone (was not approved by your employer) – you could be denied.
You can also be denied if you were “horsing around” – let’s say you and a co-worker playfully wrestled or knocked into one another in jest, and you bumped a large table that fell down and broke someone’s arm. Your claim could be denied. If you were under the influence of a drug or alcohol at the time of the work-related injury, you will most likely be denied.
It is also hard to prove stress-related illnesses and psychiatric health issues caused by work. This type of workers compensation claim takes more effort on the part of your workers comp attorney and is more difficult to establish. But, it’s been done. For example, an office worker in a highly stressful position could have complained to their supervisor that they were under stress, suffering some symptoms. If the supervisor ignored this and the worker had a heart attack, stroke, or some type of breakdown, a claim could be pursued.
Remember, there is no period of time an employee has to work to be eligible for worker’s compensation. Any injury sustained at your workplace, which impairs your ability to work, qualifies you to receive worker’s compensation regardless of seniority or amount of hours worked in a workweek.
When you are injured at work, you are entitled to Temporary Total Disability—also known as TTD. No employer is allowed to fire you for claiming TTD, or for hiring an attorney and/or making a worker’s compensation claim. If you or someone you know is fired for filing worker’s comp, a good attorney can help you.
If you ever find yourself dealing with a work-related illness or injury, consider this fact: you have to prove your eligibility. It is up to you to document everything, record everything. This is in your best interest. If you didn’t report the injury to your supervisor and obtain medical assistance within 30 days of the injury, you most likely will not be able to obtain benefits. In rare cases where the problems and health issues show up well after the incident occurred, this can be pursued but is difficult to prove and an experienced workers compensation lawyer will be needed.
Your employer has the right to choose your physician, which surprises some people when they discover this. Keep details of all visits and treatment. If for any reason the practitioner is not helping you, you’ll need an attorney’s help in seeking a change to a new medical professional.
Worker’s compensation cases can be tricky, some more than others. You as a worker are always best to report incidents properly, take pictures, and keep on documenting everything. This is the advice of our Oklahoma City-based workers compensation law firm.