Your employer has numerous safety rules to protect you and your co-workers from injury on the job. There are also federal workplace safety regulations that companies and individual workers should do their best to comply with every day.
However, no one is perfect. You might remember to follow the right safety procedures 95% of the time, but that one time in 20 when you forget a certain step in the process might be when you get hurt on the job.
Whether you work in a health care facility and tried to lift a patient without a co-worker or you spilled a chemical on yourself at an industrial plant, causing a severe chemical burn, you could be partly responsible for your injury. Will your mistake on the job prevent you from getting workers’ compensation benefits for your healthcare and time off of work?
Workers’ compensation provides no-fault coverage
The good news for a worker who knows they played a role in their own injury is that California workers’ compensation insurance is a kind of no-fault insurance. You don’t have to prove that your employer did something negligent or illegal to claim benefits, and you don’t have to worry about losing benefits if you contributed to your injury.
You can qualify for the same disability benefits and health coverage regardless of the situation that led to your injury, in most cases. The only noteworthy exception to this rule is when you caused an injury through chemical impairment or on purpose.
If you fail a drug or alcohol test after getting hurt at work and your employer can reasonably claim that your impairment is directly responsible for the injuries suffered, they may have grounds to deny your claim. However, if an innocent mistake on the job got you hurt, admitting that mistake won’t necessarily affect your right to benefits.
Why you shouldn’t use your own insurance
Some workers do not want to call attention to a mistake that they made on the job, so they decide not to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Using your own health insurance for a work injury could be a mistake. If you don’t report the issue to your employer, you will have a hard time getting benefits later. Your health insurance policy will pass on many of the expenses for your care to you and will not cover lost wages the way that workers’ compensation insurance would.
Learning the rules that govern workers’ compensation claims can help you get the benefits you require because of an injury you suffered on the job.