The workers’ compensation system was set up as a trade-off between injured workers and employers. To minimize the risk of exorbitant civil judgments against employers, the law provides for specific dollar amounts to be paid for specific types of injuries. A worker’s right to recovery from an employer for workplace injuries is limited to the workers’ compensation benefits. For the employee, the time and expense of a lawsuit can be avoided by filing a claim for benefits.
The workers’ compensation system was essentially set up as a “no-fault” process. To recover benefits, a worker does not have to show fault or negligence by an employer, but only needs to show that he or she was injured on the job. But what happens when the injuries are caused, intentionally or negligently, by the actions of the worker?
Intentionally Inflicted Injuries
If an employee willfully injures himself or herself, workers’ compensation benefits will generally not be available. This will usually include injuries sustained because the worker was either intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the injury.
Injuries Resulting from an Employee’s Carelessness or Negligence
As a general rule, the fact that a worker behaved carelessly or negligently will not make him or her ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. As previously noted, the workers’ compensation laws were designed to be implemented regardless of fault. The benefits paid are not intended to compensate the worker for pain and suffering, but for lost income and for unpaid medical expenses. The employee’s right to recover is not affected by the fault or lack of fault of the employer, and, similarly, is generally not affected by the employee’s fault or lack thereof.
Contact the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr.
At the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr, we have more than 30 years of practice experience. Contact us online or call us at (610) 565-0240 to set up an appointment. There is no charge for your initial consultation. We are available to meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We take Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as debit cards.