Workers' Compensation: Injured

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Workers' Compensation

State law governs most workers' compensation claims. These laws are aimed at protecting workers from injuries sustained on the job. Most states require every business to have some form of workers' compensation insurance to cover its employees. A workers' compensation claim is not considered a lawsuit but rather, is a claim for benefits from the employer. Usually, workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy for workers, unless the worker can point to a third party as a contributing factor in their injury, such as a manufacturer of equipment. There are several types of injuries for which a worker can recover. In some cases, even work-related stress may lead to a valid injury for which a worker can recover.

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Maybe you're sick of your job, or your boss, and you're looking for a little revenge. Or you've been injured on the job, recovered, and like the idea of getting paid to not work. And there's all this money in state workers' compensation insurance funds, just sitting there.

Any of these scenarios might sound tempting, but how do felony charges sound? As it turns out, the Inspector General of New York takes workers' comp fraud seriously; and you should, too.

A nurse who contracted Ebola from the first U.S. patient to be diagnosed with the disease back in 2014 settled her lawsuit against the hospital she worked in last month. While the details of the settlement remain confidential, typically, when a settlement is announced like this, it means the plaintiff won.

The nurse's lawsuit alleged that the hospital was negligent in training staff to handle an Ebola diagnosis, and failed to provide the proper safeguards for employees. Fortunately, both this nurse and one other nurse that also contracted Ebola at the same hospital, made full recoveries from the deadly viral infection. Unfortunately, as a result of the stress and treatments, both still suffer some lingering effects such as pain, hair loss, insomnia, and nightmares.

It may sound far-fetched, but when you consider that over 2.5 billion people worldwide live within Zika danger zones, wondering if you can get compensated for contracting the virus on the job is a legitimate concern. The Florida Fraternal Order of Police seems to think so, as the police union has requested that Sunshine State workers' compensation coverage be extended to first responders who come into contact with Zika while working.

So will they get it? And what about workers' comp for other employees who contract Zika?

If your first thought after a work injury isn't, "When can I get back to work," it's probably, "When can I get paid for getting injured at work." Missing work is tough, especially if you're missing paychecks, too.

If you got injured on the job, you probably know you can file a workers' compensation insurance claim. But how long is that going to take? While all cases are unique, here's a quick look at what to expect from your workers' comp claim.

To weld is to wield the power to make and destroy, but with that power, comes the risk of serious injury. When a welding accident happens, the result is usually a severe injury involving second or third degree burns, loss of eye-sight, severe respiratory problems, and even death. OSHA reports that welders have a high incidence of death, as they report four out of every thousand career welders will die due to a welding injury.

Most frequently, when a person is injured as a result of a welding accident, that person is on an automotive, marine, or construction job site, as those industries use welding more than others. When a person is injured on a jobsite, unless that person is self-employed, they will likely qualify for workers' compensation. Workers' compensation is a type of insurance employers are required to maintain for their employees to cover injuries that occur at work.

When determining whether a specific injury will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, the deciding factor is whether the injury was work-related. Did it happen while you were working? Or because of the kind of job you were doing? Were you on your way to work or at a work function? Answers to these questions will determine if you can get workers’ comp for your injury.

But does that mean any and all injuries are covered by workers’ compensation insurance? Here are ten injuries that people most often wonder about when it comes to workers’ comp, and how to figure out if you’re covered.

Can I Get Workers' Comp If I Work From Home?

You work from home but have an employer. One day, while at home, you trip over the dog running to answer the phone, and it is a work call. You're injured from the fall and apply for workers' compensation. Will your claim be denied?

You can get workers' compensation if you work from home, but the location may complicate your claim. State statutes vary, and each claim is decided based on the specific details involved, so it is difficult to say in the abstract what will happen. Still, one contested Oregon case demonstrates the typical issues.

Workers’ compensation insurance is in place to make sure employees get paid if they get hurt on the job. While this coverage can include a wide range of injuries and scenarios, it doesn’t quite cover every injury just because it happened at work or while you were working.

And it may not cover you if you fail a drug test. Here’s what you need to know:

NPR's Feature Case on Workers' Comp Settles: Beware Strict Provisions

Workers’ compensation is federally mandated and administered by states, but some employers may opt out if they have an alternate plan. When that happens, it can be more difficult for individuals hurt on the job to get compensation for their medical claims, as was highlighted in a feature on National Public Radio.

The story revealed the difficulties of Rachel Jenkins, 33, who was injured caring for a disabled man and denied benefits by her Oklahoma employer’s private plan. Jenkins and others sued the state and employers over certain provisions in the Oklahoma workers’ compensation opt-out plan. This week, Jenkins settled her claim with the company, reports NPR.

We depend on our jobs for our livelihood. And getting hurt on the job shouldn't take that livelihood away. That's why employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance -- to compensate employees injured while working.

Many workers' comp questions cover the types of injuries that may be covered, and the oversimplified answer is: work-related injuries. But what about the more procedural issues of workers' comp, like when you must file or whether you can sue your employer? Here are nine of the most pressing workers' compensation questions: