One reason some workers are reluctant to claim workers compensation benefits is they feel as though the accident was their fault. Sometimes anyone can have an off day and work a little clumsily, forget a vital safety precaution, or otherwise create a condition which can lead to an accident or an injury.
Fortunately, New Jersey’s workers compensation system is a no-fault system. For the most part, the only condition you will have to meet to be eligible for benefits is to be injured at work and to report that injury.
What Disqualifies You From Workers Comp?
The first thing that can disqualify you is willful misconduct. That is you were horsing around, abusing alcohol or drugs, or were willfully ignoring or violating company policies. A self-inflicted injury also won’t be covered by workers compensation, i.e., slitting your wrists while you’re in the workplace bathroom.
You can also lose your workers compensation by failing to report the injury in a timely fashion. Some employees do this because they fear retaliation or other consequences. It’s important to remember that retaliating against an employee for claiming workers compensation benefits is against the law.
What is Considered an On-the-Job Injury?
Any injury that occurs while you are working, or while you’re at work. This covers almost any injury that takes place at the workplace location, during working hours, or while performing activities that are within the scope of your employment.
This can even include things you are doing while working from home, so long as the activities you’re engaging in are within the scope of your normal employment.
How Do You Prove Work Related Injuries?
There are different evidence types that we use. For example, we can get your time cards, which shows you were at work at the time of the accident. We can also rely on witness reports, medical records, your accident report, photos of the scene or your injury, and maintenance reports of equipment that might have been involved in the accident.
Some injuries are harder to prove. For example, being being infected with Covid-19 on the job is technically covered as a workplace injury, but it’s harder to prove. So are repetitive stress injuries, which develop over time.
If you think you’re going to have trouble proving you were injured on the job, then it’s a good idea to reach out to a qualified workers compensation lawyer ASAP.