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What Types of Work Injuries Aren’t Covered by Workers’ Comp?

October 31, 2022

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In Ohio, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. That means that employees are almost always eligible for benefits if they get injured or sick at work and can’t perform their job duties. However, the key word is almost.

There are certain types of work injuries that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation, including those that are not the injured workers’ fault and those that are.

Injuries Caused by Fighting

Getting into a physical fight with someone at work is a quick way to get fired and potentially ruin your career. And if you get hurt in the process, you can’t file for workers’ compensation benefits. However, you may be eligible for benefits if you can prove you didn’t instigate the fight and were defending yourself or were injured while trying to get away from your assailant.

Injuries Caused by Horseplay

Horseplay isn’t just something that elementary-school children get chastised for—it can also show up in the workplace. It’s defined as “play that is physically rough or rowdy,” and may include friendly shoving, racing, or practical jokes. But because it’s often a risk-filled deviation from work-related duties, injuries caused by it usually aren’t covered by workers’ compensation.

Injuries Caused by Off-Site Recreational Activities (if You Signed a Waiver)

It’s common for companies to host off-site teambuilding activities, such as bowling nights, laser tag, company softball games, and more. While these events can be a great way to connect with coworkers outside of the office, they can also be dangerous. Because of that, many companies require employees to sign waivers releasing them (and their workers’ comp insurers) from liability if employees get injured.

However, if you get injured in an off-site work-related activity and you didn’t sign a waiver, you may be eligible for benefits.

Injuries Caused by Intoxication or Impairment

If you come to work drunk or impaired by drugs—or you become impaired while at work—you’re ineligible for compensation if you get injured, especially if your intoxication or impairment could have contributed to your injury. However, you may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits if it can be proven that your injury would have occurred regardless of your impairment.

Injuries Caused by Traveling to or from Work

When you work on-site, you have no choice but to commute back and forth every day. And despite that being a requirement of your job, it’s not considered a work-related activity. That means if you get injured during your morning or evening commute, you aren’t eligible for benefits. However, you may be eligible for benefits if you’re driving to or from work during work hours and for work-related purposes (i.e., making a delivery or returning from a client meeting).

Injuries Caused by Employees Ignoring Mandatory Safety Precautions

Although workers’ comp is considered no-fault when workers get hurt while performing their work duties, you may be denied compensation if you get injured while blatantly disregarding rules such as failing to use safety equipment or ignoring supervisors’ directions. For example, if a worker on a construction site suffers a head injury after being struck by a dropped object, but they weren’t wearing a mandatory hard hat, they may be ineligible for benefits.

Injuries Caused by Employees Performing Duties They’re Not Qualified For

Many workplaces have jobs that can only be performed by people with the right training, experience, and licensure. When unqualified employees attempt to perform those jobs and get injured, they may be ruled ineligible for workers’ compensation. Examples include workers being injured while driving forklifts despite having no experience and workers causing crashes while driving semi-trucks despite not having commercial driver’s licenses.

Minor Injuries and Untreated Injuries Are Also Not Covered

You can’t receive workers’ compensation if your injuries aren’t serious enough to cause you to be out of work for more than two days or if you don’t need much, if any, medical care to recover from them. You also may be ineligible for workers’ compensation if you either never saw a doctor for your injuries or you waited so long that it can no longer be definitely proven that your injuries occurred at work or while performing work-related duties. After an injury on-the-job, it is always advised to inform your supervisor of the injury and how it occurred immediately so they can file an incident report, in case you need to file a workers’ compensation claim later.

Contact Us After a Workplace or Work-Related Injury

Although this list seems extensive, the number of workplace injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation greatly exceeds the number of injuries that aren’t. At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we know which injuries are covered, and we can help you get the benefits you’re owed if your injury makes you eligible.

Contact our Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys today for a free consultation to learn if you’re eligible for compensation and how to get it. It’s our goal to ensure you and your family get the money you deserve for your lost wages and medical care.

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