What Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

 Workers' Compensation for workplace injuries.

From restaurant kitchens to emergency rooms, job sites are full of occupational hazards that can result in workplace injuries. In addition to sudden accidents, like a slip and fall or collision with an object, repeated physical motions, such as bending or twisting, can also cause injury to a worker. Despite how careful a person is to avoid accidents on the job, some workplace injuries are unavoidable. When an injury does occur, the workers’ compensation system protects employees from the financial consequences of recovery. In addition to covering all related medical expenses, workers’ comp benefits replace a portion of an employee’s wages while he or she is off the job.

Injuries covered by workers’ compensation

With a few exceptions, any injury that occurs at work or that is related to work is covered by workers’ compensation. For example, a pharmaceutical representative would be covered by workers’ compensation when making visits to doctor offices and hospitals, but not when commuting to or from work. Any injury that arises “out of the course of employment” is covered by workers’ compensation, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Back injuries
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Knee injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Concussions
  • Blindness
  • Hearing loss

Repetitive stress injuries and workers’ comp

In addition to isolated accidents, workers’ compensation also covers injuries sustained over time. Repetitive stress injuries, or cumulative trauma disorders, occur when an employee performs repeated physical motions such as bending, twisting, reaching, pushing, pulling, or even typing. Carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the wrists, hands, and forearms, is the most common type of repetitive stress injury, affecting a quarter of all workers who use a computer.

Mental health and workers’ comp

Some mental health disorders are also considered workplace injuries and are therefore covered by workers’ compensation. For example, if you witness a traumatic event at work and are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), your treatment will likely be covered by workers’ comp. Employees who suffer from depression or anxiety due to work factors may also be covered by workers’ compensation, but proving these illnesses is often more complex and requires the help of an experienced workers’ comp attorney.

Are all workplace injuries covered by workers’ compensation?

As a “no-fault system,” workers’ comp is designed to provide benefits to all injured employees, even if the accident results from an employee’s carelessness. However, in California, workers’ comp coverage is restricted in certain scenarios. These situations include:

  • Injuries that are intentionally self-inflicted
  • Injuries sustained by an employee who started a fight
  • Injuries sustained while an employee was committing a serious crime
  • Injuries that occur off the job
  • Injuries sustained while an employee is violating company policy

An injury that occurs under the influence of alcohol or drugs can complicate a workers’ comp claim, but it doesn’t necessarily disqualify an employee from collecting benefits.

Were you injured on the job? You may be covered by workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, which means all eligible employees who are hurt on the job are entitled to payment for lost wages and medical expenses regardless of how the injury occurred. Unfortunately, workers’ comp claims are routinely denied, adding frustration to an already tense situation. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, our workers’ compensation lawyers can help you make sense of your case, file the proper paperwork on time, and make sure you get the maximum benefits you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at (619) 528-9800.