Workers’ compensation is a system that is often misunderstood by workers and employers. For example, employees tend to worry about qualifying for benefits and about getting in trouble for filing a claim. In reality, there are few scenarios in which an injured or ill worker’s claim will be properly denied. Additionally, it is important to understand that it is unlawful for employers to punish workers – in any way – for rightfully filing a workers’ compensation claim. As an experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney from Rispoli & Borneo P.C. can confirm, when it comes to workers’ compensation challenges, knowledge is indeed, power. Understanding your rights and options under the law will help to ensure that you receive any and all compensation to which you have a right in the wake of an occupational illness or injury.
Workers’ Compensation Is a No-Fault System
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, your injury or illness must be work-related. In some cases, you can receive benefits if you were injured at work, even if you were not on the clock. If you were injured while working off-site, you can receive benefits. No-fault means that you can still receive compensation if your conduct or choices led to your injury, as long as you weren’t intentionally trying to get hurt, starting a fight, or drunk or high at the time of your injury. Maybe you forgot safety procedures or didn’t use the right equipment and were injured in the process. Workers’ compensation benefits are not contingent upon a determination of who was at fault for the injurious incident.
Injuries Caused by Misconduct or Gross Negligence
While workers’ compensation benefits are not usually approved or denied due to who caused a work-related injury or illness, as noted above, you may be barred from receiving benefits under certain circumstances. For example, if you start a fight at work and are injured in the process, you may be denied benefits, since you instigated the problem. Essentially, the workers’ compensation system may deny your claim if you were grossly negligent leading up to the moment during which you sustained your injury. However, these cases are very rare. In general, even if you caused your injury, you remain entitled to collect benefits.
Employers Cannot Retaliate Against Workers Who File a Workers’ Comp Claim
If you are an employee and are injured while working, even if you caused your own injuries, you are likely entitled to compensation and payment of your bills. Your employer cannot fire you or otherwise retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is expressly against the law for an employer to retaliate against an employee for submitting a workers’ comp claim. Don’t let fear of retaliation keep you from speaking with an attorney about your rights and options under the law.