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Does clumsiness or a mistake justify a workers’ comp denial?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Work injuries can happen in any office, retail shop or manufacturing facility in Ohio. People get injured while doing their jobs every single day, and most of them (thankfully) know that they can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits to help cover the costs of their care and replace their wages if they must take a leave of absence.

However, some workers who may qualify for benefits fail to use them because they ultimately do not understand how the program works. Misinformation about workers’ compensation coverage might leave people trying to cover their own treatment costs or using paid time off benefits when they could receive disability pay instead. For example, it is not ordinarily true that workers who cause their own injuries do not qualify for coverage.

Mistakes do not generally eliminate the right to benefits

Workers’ compensation in Ohio is a form of no-fault protection for businesses. Employees do not have to show that their employers violated any safety rules, nor do they need to establish that they were completely blameless for the incident. No-fault coverage protects employers from liability regardless of what may have happened in the workplace, so employees generally don’t have to worry about tripping over their own shoelaces or hitting their own thumb with a hammer and then struggling to pay their bills afterward. So long as the accident occurs on the job, the worker should be able to seek benefits related to their treatment expenses and lost wages.

Even if an employer has video footage of someone slicing themselves accidentally with a box cutter or otherwise making a mistake on the job, their ability to prove that a worker caused an accidental injury would not be grounds to deny them benefits. It would only be any rare scenario where a worker hurts themselves on purpose or an employer can prove that their injury was the result of intoxication on the job that someone’s fault would play a role in whether they get benefits or not.

Employers may try to mislead injured workers

Companies might tell an employee that they don’t qualify for benefits or even go so far as to try to dispute their claim because they expect the worker to give up and not know their rights. Those that understand the rules related to workers’ compensation benefits will know when they qualify for coverage and also how to respond to an unfair denial of benefits after getting hurt on the job.

Reviewing workers’ compensation rules may be a good step for anyone who has been recently injured at work and is worried about their rights. Seeking legal guidance can be helpful as well.