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You were sent to attend a convention for work and you got hurt setting up the company booth. On the flight, your back cramped up and the pain won't go away. So now you're curious -- will workers compensation pay for this injury?
Breathe easy. The answer is probably yes, most likely, although each state does have its own statutes and every case has its own unique deciding details. But the first key to a successful workers compensation claim is that the injury is work-related. Let's look at the basics.
Of course there can be situations that don't merit workers' compensation, like you go on a business trip that ends in a visit to the Alps in Switzerland, where you break your leg jumping off a ski lift. In that case, your injury -- while ostensibly stemming from a business trip -- is not work-related.
If, however, you really do hurt yourself putting together the company booth at a convention your boss sent you to, and you acquire all the appropriate administrative and medical documentation, you should receive workers' compensation. It is insurance for injuries caused by work and available in every state. Yet each state has its own rules and they don't all compensate the same injuries or have precisely the same processes.
Making a Claim
The process for making a workers' compensation claim is designed to be relatively straightforward so that any worker may file without assistance. But the same could be said for taxes and we all know how easy tax forms can be!
Theoretically, you should be able to go to your state's workers' compensation website and access the resources to begin the process independently. One goal of the system is to minimize employee lawsuits. As such, workers' compensation requires documentation of injury and its relationship to work without requiring proof of fault like in a lawsuit.
But that doesn't rule out any possibility of a lawsuit from a work-related injury. For example, if you're injured during business hours at work, whether on a trip or in the office, and the equipment you used was defective or malfunctioned you might have a basis for a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Talk to a Lawyer
Many people do hire attorneys to help them with workers' compensation claims for precisely the reason we get assistance with our taxes. The language of administration can be difficult for those without the specific training. Don't wait until a claim has been denied before getting counsel. Consulting with an attorney at any stage can provide you with invaluable insight.