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What Happens if I Am Partially at Fault for a Work Injury?

bandaging arm of injured workerSometimes a worker who gets hurt on the job is partially responsible for the injury. He or she may have been reckless or failed to take safety precautions to avoid getting hurt. It is only natural for these workers to have questions about eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

Berry, Smith & Bartell’s trusted attorneys discuss this issue below to explain when workers who were at fault are ineligible for benefits under the California workers’ compensation system. If you need assistance with your claim, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Workers’ Compensation is a No-Fault System

California’s workers’ compensation system is no-fault. This means that as an injured worker, you do not have to prove the wrongdoing or negligence of your employer caused your injury to receive benefits. You must only prove that your injury or illness is a result of actions in the course and scope of your employment.

In a no-fault workers’ compensation system, an injured worker is able to receive benefits even if his or her own actions played a role in sustaining an employment-related injury. In most cases, anyone who suffers an injury at work in California receives medical benefits and compensation through a workers’ compensation claim.

Possible Exceptions to the No-Fault Rule

While the California workers’ compensation system is generally no-fault, there are possible exceptions to this rule. In these situations, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits for an injury which was partially or wholly the result of your actions.

Even if an injury occurs at work, an employee may be denied workers’ compensation benefits if he or she caused the injury due to:

  • Drug or alcohol intoxication: Employers are not required to compensate for workplace injuries where an employee’s intoxication is the primary factor that caused the injury.
  • Fighting at work: If the injured employee was the aggressor in a fight at work and not acting solely in self-defense, an employer is not required to pay workers’ compensation benefits. This applies to fights that occur on business premises or those that arise due to disagreements related to work.
  • Participating in horseplay: Injuries that arise from horseplay on the job are not always eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • A self-inflicted injury: Employees that willfully intend to hurt themselves may be disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Violating a stated company policy: Employers set rules and safety guidelines to protect employees. If these policies are known but violated, benefits may be denied.

The purpose of workers’ compensation benefits is to compensate workers who suffer work-related injuries. Certain misconduct, while performed on the job, can be considered outside your work duties and scope of employment. In these situations, injuries that occur on the job may not be covered by workers’ compensation.

It is the employer’s responsibility to prove an employee is not eligible for workers’ compensation due to the above actions. Employers must prove the employee’s behavior was the primary cause of the injury. They must also show the behavior was not a normally acceptable action in the workplace.

Contact Our Central Valley Lawyers for Help

The Fresno workers’ compensation attorneys of Berry, Smith & Bartell will fight to secure the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve when injured on the job. We can investigate your claim and help you pursue compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.

Request your free, zero-risk consultation by contacting us today. There are no fees due up front and you only pay us if we recover compensation for you.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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