Getting injured at work is sometimes unavoidable throughout one’s career, affecting the employer, employee, and colleagues. Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for all employers in most states and protects the employer and the employee. An employer is protected against lawsuits, while employees are insured against work-related injuries.
Work injuries can occur anytime and can be less severe or fatal, some common ones being automobile accidents, sprains, strained muscles, slips and falls, fractures, etc. A worker can receive coverage for several other uncommon types of work injuries under workers’ compensation insurance. Below are four of these uncommon injuries.
1. Workplace Fighting and Horseplay Injuries
Employees may get rowdy and get into altercations in the process, resulting in an injured worker who may not be eligible for compensation. However, the injured worker may be eligible if an employer was present during the fighting or horseplay and encouraged or participated. If the fight is about a work-related issue and there is evidence to back the same, then the injuries can be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Similarly, if one has filed a complaint about a specific employee’s conduct while at work and the reported employee causes harm, the injured one may be eligible for compensation.
2. Injuries While Commuting to and from Work
Workers’ compensation insurance does not cover injuries sustained when traveling to or from work because they fall under the “coming and going rule.” This rule states that traveling to and from a fixed work site is not considered part of work. For example, when one is mugged and injured on their way to work, they are not compensated. However, injuries are covered if one uses a company’s car, runs a work errand, or does not have a fixed work site.
3. Injuries Sustained During Recreational Activities
Most employers arrange for their employees to have time together to socialize through recreational activities, team building, and social events like holiday parties, happy hours, or company picnics. Often, employees are not awarded any benefits if injured when participating in any of these activities. However, an uncommon case where an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation is when an employer benefited from the employee’s attendance when the employee was required to attend and when the activity occurred during working hours and on the business or company’s premises.
4. Intoxication-related Injuries
Almost all workers’ comp laws exclude compensation for injured workers when intoxicated with drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse is enough grounds for denial of compensation, but there are unusual circumstances when an injured employee may receive compensation even when under the influence of drugs. If an employee proves that the injuries were unavoidable and were not their fault, they may be eligible for coverage. For example, if a ladder falls on an intoxicated idling worker, it may be ruled that the injuries sustained were not their fault, even if they were intoxicated.
The above examples of uncommon injuries that may receive compensation in the unfortunate event that they occur bring comfort to workers. Employees should report and file their claims within the stipulated timelines. They can also seek help from an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation law and work through the possibilities of getting compensation for their unusual injuries.