What is Considered a Work-Related Injury?

What is Considered a Work-Related Injury?

by / Wednesday, 02 June 2021 / Published in Workplace Woes
Boxes falling onto warehouse employee

At first, “What is considered a work-related injury?” might seem like a pretty straightforward question. However, the answer to this question isn’t always very cut and dry and there’s a chance it could make a difference to your case when it comes to collecting worker’s compensation benefits.

Generally speaking, work-related injuries are injuries that a person sustains in the course of their job. This is the straightforward kind of answer many people would think of when they hear this question, imagining things like broken bones after falling off a ladder or being injured by a piece of heavy machinery. But when people sustain work-related injuries, it’s important to understand that those injuries don’t always happen in an instant. Sometimes, occupational injuries and illnesses develop over time, like carpal tunnel syndrome and illnesses caused by prolonged exposure to hazardous materials like asbestos. These types of injuries are also considered work-related injuries and could be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits.

Work-Related Injury Gray Areas

Whether or not an injury is considered work related also depends on what, exactly, a person was doing when the injury occurred. For example, if a person was injured in a car accident while commuting to or from work or while doing errands on their lunch break, that generally would not be covered by worker’s compensation. (However, there are some exceptions to this rule.) But car accident injuries may be considered work-related if the accident occurred while doing things like traveling for a business trip or driving somewhere at the direction of their boss.

Worker’s comp may also apply to injuries that occur during company-sponsored events, like holiday parties. But if a few workers independently got together to do something after work and someone got hurt during that outing, that would not be covered by worker’s comp since it was not a company-sponsored event.

Another important factor is what type of job a person has. Worker’s comp covers employees in a wide range of industries, but not all of them. In many states, people like agricultural workers and domestic workers (nannies, housekeepers, etc.) are exempt from being covered by worker’s compensation.

What Isn’t a Work-Related Injury

While worker’s compensation applies to many types of injuries that occur in the course of a person’s employment, it doesn’t apply to everything. In addition to the exceptions discussed above, worker’s comp does not include injuries that occur while doing something illegal, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while doing something against company policies, while engaging in “horseplay,” or if someone intentionally injures themselves.

Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer

With all the questions about whether or not an injury is considered work-related, it’s very important to contact a workplace injury lawyer if you’ve been injured on the job. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer experienced in handling Michigan worker’s compensation cases who can answer all of your questions and work with you to make sure your case is handled correctly. Contact us today to get started.

Image: iStock / gorodenkoff

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