Are Your Workplace Injuries Compensable?
When filing for workers compensation, it's common for folks to be told offhandedly that they can't be paid for their injuries. Reasons cited may include that a person is considered a contractor or that their injuries weren't really work related. Before you take no for an answer, though, you should discuss your concerns with a workers compensation attorney.
Non-Traditional Work Arrangements
Many companies abuse non-traditional works structures, especially self-employed contract agreements, to avoid paying compensation. The government sees contracting differently than those firms that abuse the system. In terms of compensation for work injuries, the question that has to be asked is whether the work was done on an at-will basis. Generally, if you had a work schedule that had to be kept and didn't have the right to refuse jobs without endangering your continued work, the government considers you an employee. If you can document the pattern of how you worked, there's a good chance you can present a viable case.
Not All Work Injuries Happen at Work
Another class of cases that every workers compensation attorney has seen some form of are ones that supposedly occurred outside of the work environment. You may not be aware that doing something your boss asked you to do likely counts as work, regardless of whether you were on the clock or if the task was typical of your job. For example, if your boss asked you to mail a package and you were hurt along the way, you may have grounds for seeking compensation. Similar claims may follow from things like getting coffee or an incident at a company dinner.
Injuries that Accumulate
Repetitive injuries can be just as painful to cope with as ones that happen in an instant. What makes them more sinister, though, is that it's hard to tell your supervisor the exact moment that something like carpal tunnel happened. These kinds of cases tend to hinge on two factors. First, pre-employment physicals are very important. They provide evidence that an injury didn't exist before a worker signed on or that the company knew about a problem. Second, it's necessary to show that the repeated stresses came from doing the job rather than some other activity. This sort of claim often calls for consulting with doctors and occupational therapists to document how the injuries occurred. Presenting data showing commonalities with other workers in the industry who suffered the same injuries is also wise.