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Do you get workers’ comp if you were at fault?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

In some situations, workers get injured due to the fault of someone else. It could be the employer’s fault, or it may be a coworker who makes a mistake on the job. The person who suffers the injury didn’t do anything wrong but was simply an innocent victim. They understand that they have a right to workers’ compensation to cover lost wages, medical bills and the like.

But there are many other situations in which workers are injured because of something that they did – or negligently failed to do – on the job. Maybe a worker set a ladder up improperly and then fell, suffering a traumatic brain injury. Or perhaps an employee was rushing while using a miter saw, resulting in an amputation injury. They were the only person at fault, so can they still seek compensation?

Fault usually doesn’t matter

As a general rule, the answer is yes, they can still seek compensation. This is because workers’ comp is set up as a no-fault system. It doesn’t matter who was at fault; the business has to provide workers’ comp benefits as long as the employee was performing their job at the time.

There are some limited exceptions. A worker who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not be eligible if that impairment caused the mistake and their injuries, for example. Workers are sometimes ineligible if they are engaging in horseplay or if they aren’t performing the duties of their job. Someone who gets injured through workplace violence may not be eligible if they were the aggressor.

But these exceptions don’t apply in the vast majority of cases, when workers just suffer injuries due to mistakes or unfortunate events. For those in this situation, it’s important to know what legal steps to take to seek proper benefits.