What are an Employer’s Responsibilities for a Work Injury?
If you have been injured in the workplace, your employer may be required to help you recover lost wages and other damages.
A majority of employers are required by certain state-specific laws to handle workers’ compensation insurance, which is intended to help employees by paying a portion of their wages when recovering from a job-related injury or illness.
However, some types of employees such as railroad workers and independent contractors aren’t covered by these laws.
In some rare cases, employees may be able to file a lawsuit against an employer in court if they suffered from injuries sustained as a result of safety regulation violations. This can include certain cases of negligence.
Determining If an Injury is Work-Related
Prior to filing a workers’ comp claim or seeking other types of relief, it’s important to make sure your injury is actually job-related, which generally means it occurred while performing work duties or other tasks under the supervision of an employer.
This could include company picnics, parties, or other types of social events that are run by your employer on another property.
While certain state laws and courts debate about it, you may be able to recover damages for job-related injuries even if they resulted from your own disregard for safety rules in the workplace.
Here are some additional things you should consider if you want to recover compensation from a work-related injury:
- Injuries that occur during a lunch break are normally excluded from workers’ comp cases, unless they occur in a company cafeteria or other situation where the employer has involvement.
- Pre-existing conditions that grow worse because of a work task are typically considered job-related.
- Mental and physical injuries are treated the same if they are found to have been sustained in the workplace or as a result of a work-related task.
- Even if alcohol is a contributing factor to an injury, it could still be considered work-related if it occurred in a work-related event such as a company party.
Exceptions to Chicago Workers’ Compensation
Even if you aren’t eligible to receive workers’ compensation as a result of a work-related injury, your employer may still bear responsibility. For instance, if you are an independent contractor, the contract may determine which party is responsible for an injury.
Other types of alternatives to workers’ compensation can include:
- Federal Employees’ Compensation Act benefits for non-military federal employees
- The Merchant Marine Act, which offers seamen certain protections from negligence
- The Black Lung Benefits Act, which provides compensation for miners who have suffered from the mining-related condition known as “black lung”
- The Federal Employment Liability Act (FELA), which holds railroads responsible for injuries resulting from negligence
While there isn’t a guarantee that you have a workers’ comp case if you have been injured in the workplace, you can determine if you’re eligible for compensation if you consult with a reputable Chicago workers compensation lawyer, who may be able to provide you with representation.