Your employer may try to deny workers’ compensation benefits because they say you caused your own workplace injury. Your employer may even refuse to report your injury to the workers’ compensation insurance company. Many workers before you have been in this situation, so the law provides you with some protections so that you can get benefits.
Usually, your employer cannot deny you benefits even if you caused your workplace injury. There are a few typical situations when you might cause your own injury:
- Horseplay or assault initiated by you
- Violating workplace safety rules
- Intentionally self-inflicted injury
In the first two situations, you most likely can receive benefits. Horseplay or assault in the course of your employment, that relates to your job, is compensable under Minnesota law. However, if you engaged in the horseplay for purely personal reasons and just happened to be at work when it happened, your employer does not have to pay up. Even violating workplace safety rules or disobeying your employer’s instructions will not cut off your right to benefits in many cases. There are some rare situations when violating the rules leads to no benefits, to be discussed in another blog.
On the other hand, if you intentionally self-inflicted your injuries at work, then your employer may not have to pay you any benefits. The burden is on your employer to show that it was an intentional injury. However, in some cases, relatives of a worker who commits suicide at work may receive death and dependency benefits if they can prove that the nature of the job led to the worker’s emotional or psychological problems.
In addition, if you get injured on the job while you are drunk or under the influence of a drug, then your injuries may not be compensable. The employer has to show that your intoxication directly caused your injury. It must have been the only real cause of the injury, not just a contributing factor.
Workers who are accused of causing their own workplace injuries probably need legal representation to fight benefits denials. Your lawyer can remind the employer that it has the burden of proof, or develop evidence to show that work situations led to your injury.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.