How Do You Determine if an Injury Is Work-Related?
An Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer can help you pursue work comp benefits in Florida, and it is important to understand that workers’ compensation only covers work-related injuries. Even if you have an injury that prevents you from working, if you didn’t suffer your injury on the job, you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Sometimes, the fact that an injury qualifies for workers’ compensation will be obvious. But, this won’t always be so clear. So, how do you determine if an injury is work-related? This article explains what you need to know.
When Does an Injury Qualify as “Work-Related”?
For purposes of qualifying for workers’ compensation, an injury can be considered “work-related” in five main scenarios. These scenarios are:
1. You Were Injured While Doing Your Job at Your Normal Place of Work
Let’s say you work in a warehouse. Your job requires you to lift and transport heavy boxes on a daily basis. One day, while you are lifting a box your back gives out.
This is one of the most straightforward examples of a work-related injury. You were doing your job at your normal place of work, so there is virtually no question that your injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits (assuming you are otherwise eligible to file).
Any time you are injured while doing your job at your normal place of work, any injury you suffer is likely to be considered work-related. This is true whether you work in a hospital, at an office, in a factory or retail store, or at an amusement park in Orlando.
2. You Were Injured While Doing Your Job at a Job Site
Now, let’s say you were injured while doing your job, but instead of working at a fixed location, you travel from job site to job site. Does this qualify as a work-related injury?
In this scenario, your injury is almost certainly work-related as well. For purposes of workers’ compensation, it doesn’t matter whether you go to work at the same place every day or your job takes you to different locations in and around Orlando. If you were onsite and doing your job when you got injured, you will want to speak with an Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer about filing for the benefits you deserve.
3. You Were Injured While Driving for Work
What if you were injured in an auto accident while driving for work? Here, too, the same basic principles apply. If you were working when you got injured, then your injury should qualify as work-related.
In Florida, commuting is not considered a job-related activity in most instances. So, if you were injured in a collision on your normal drive to work, your injuries generally would not be covered under workers’ compensation (though you could still file an auto insurance claim). However, if your employer asked you to run an errand during your commute, then workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you.
The same applies to driving to lunch. Generally speaking, driving to lunch is not considered a work-related activity. But, driving to lunch can become a work-related activity if your employer asks you to make a delivery or pick up supplies along the way.
4. You Have a Repetitive Stress Injury Related To Your Employment
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “Repetitive motion and overexertion are the biggest risk factors facing American workers.” If your job entails repetitive motion, then any repetitive stress injury you suffer as a result of this repetitive motion should qualify as work-related. This includes common repetitive stress injuries such as:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- De Quervain’s syndrome
- Stenosing tenosynovitis (“trigger finger”)
While filing a workers’ compensation claim is rarely easy, seeking benefits for a repetitive stress injury can be particularly challenging. Employers and their insurers frequently dispute these claims by arguing that (i) employees’ injuries are not 100% job-related, and/or (ii) employees have not filed their repetitive stress injury claims on time.
5. Your Injury Otherwise Arise “Out Of and In the Course of Employment”
So far, we have discussed four scenarios in which employees can seek workers’ compensation benefits for job-related injuries. But, to qualify as “work-related,” an injury does not necessarily have to arise out of an employee’s job duties.
In Florida, workers’ compensation covers all injuries that arise “out of and in the course of employment.” This means that if you were walking to the bathroom, walking to the kitchen, or walking to get tools out of your van, these are all scenarios in which you may qualify for benefits.
Have you suffered a work-related injury in Orlando? If so, our work injury lawyers can help. The workers’ compensation process can be complicated, and you may not know how to pursue the full and fair compensation to which you might be entitled. Our attorneys can guide you through the workers’ comp process and help if any third parties may also share liability for your injuries.
Contact our office today online or at (800) 766-1000 for a free, no-obligation consultation with an Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer.