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What Kind of Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Most people go to work, do their job and go home. They do it everyday without incident. It’s an unfortunate and tragic day when someone goes to work and gets injured on the job. It happens more often than people may think and, if it happens to you, you may be wondering what your rights are.
In the state of Alabama, if you fall off a ladder, experience a crushing injury or even slip and fall, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. What many people may not know is that injuries that occur over time may be covered by workers’ compensation as well. Emotional injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder may be covered, and you could potentially file a claim if you are assaulted. You can even recover if you are at fault.
In order to receive workers’ compensation, you must first be able to prove that your injury occurred at work. The law defines that as “arising out of employment and occurring during the course of employment,” or AOE/COE. It’s quite easy to prove that you were hurt at work when the accident occurred on your regular job site, but it can be more difficult to prove when your injury occurred away from the office or when the injury is due to overuse or repetitive motion and the symptoms take time to manifest.
At the end of the day, your work environment is supposed to be a safe one. When it’s not and you suffer financially as a result, you have the right to compensation. If your injury is described below, or you have sustained any other type of injury at work, please reach out to our office. We understand workers’ compensation in Alabama and are here to protect your rights.
1. Overuse and Repetitive Motion Injuries
Ask anyone who has played baseball or tennis for the majority of their life and they will tell you about problems with their shoulders, and maybe even elbows or wrists. These injuries are due to repetitive motion and overuse of the joints. They can also occur due to work-related movements.
People in a wide range of industries experience these types of injuries. You may be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome after spending years inputting data, back pain from too frequent bending and lifting or even tendonitis from performing the same motion over and over. Workers’ compensation will typically cover these types of injuries. However, certain states may require that you provide ample evidence in order to prove that your injury was sustained at or caused by your place of employment.
It is a very rare case that you can make a workers’ compensation claim for the flu, but you can certainly file a claim for other occupational illnesses. When an illness or a disease is due to repeated exposure or sudden exposure to a hazardous chemical, bodily fluid or other substance, you have the right to be compensated.
In cases of well-publicized and highly researched illnesses like black lung disease or HIV, proving that you were exposed at work won’t be difficult. These two illnesses, just as an example, are known to be caused by certain exposures. When you are diagnosed with an illness like lung cancer or something else more common that could be linked to a variety of sources, you may have a more difficult time proving that your exposure was work-related, although it can be done.
3. Pre-Existing Conditions
You may believe that because you have a pre-existing condition, you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim for, say, a back injury. Perhaps you have been diagnosed with arthritis in your spine and then hurt your back at work. If your injury is work-related, you can certainly file a claim, but you will typically only be compensated for treatment that directly relates to the injury and not to your pre-existing condition.
4. Post-Traumatic Stress
In most states, post-traumatic stress treatment will be covered if you were exposed to a sudden and extraordinary event at work. For example, if you work in a factory and someone comes in with a firearm and shoots a co-worker in your presence, you may suffer emotional distress and post-traumatic stress as a result. This would likely be covered by workers’ compensation.
Fights happen. Tempers flare at work or someone comes in just having a bad day. It’s not an unusual occurrence for co-workers to argue and bicker amongst each other. If you think about it, you probably spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your family, if you count the hours that you are awake.
Unfortunately, these arguments can take a violent turn. If you are assaulted at work by another employee or even a supervisor and are injured, you may have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Here’s an example:
You are doing your job when Joe walks into your area, obviously angry. The two of you begin to have words, which quickly escalate. Joe shoves you backwards, you trip and fall, striking your head on the floor. You could presumably file a workers’ compensation claim. On the other hand, if you strike Joe first and he was defending himself or retaliating, chances are that you have no claim.
Speak with a Mobile Industrial Accident Attorney Today
Being hurt on the job is not something that anyone wants to experience. For most people, it is something that will never occur. For others, it has already happened. If you have been injured at work in Alabama, reach out to our team of personal injury lawyers. We can help you file your claim or fight the denial of your claim. We can also take your case to court if necessary. Call today for a no cost, no obligation case evaluation and let us assist you.