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What if a worker gets hurt due to their own mistake?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Employees get hurt on the job for many different reasons. Sometimes, a worker develops repetitive stress injuries after performing the same job tasks for years. Other times, it might be a car crash while driving for work or a defective tool that causes a worker to get hurt.

In scenarios where a third party or an employer is clearly to blame, injured employees may file workers’ compensation claims. However, many job hazards relate to an individual worker’s focus and decision-making. A simple timing error could lead to serious injury at a manufacturing facility or in a commercial kitchen. Wearing the wrong shoes to work could lead to someone slipping and breaking a bone.

What protection do workers have when their own mistakes are to blame for a job injury?

Illinois protects workers even when they are at fault

Businesses with direct-hire employees generally need to carry workers’ compensation coverage protecting those employees. The coverage absolves the business of direct liability and protects it from employee lawsuits. It also helps ensure that workers don’t have to bear the brunt of a job injury regardless of the reason behind it.

No-fault coverage protects a worker from the threat of uncovered injuries when they make mistakes on the job. Even if an employer has witnesses or video footage showing that a worker made a mistake and got hurt as a result, that proof does not eliminate the worker’s eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

There are a handful of scenarios in which a worker’s fault could negatively affect their eligibility for workers’ compensation. In cases where employers can show that a worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, faults might matter. If their intoxication was the underlying cause of their injury, they may be ineligible for benefits.

If the company has evidence showing that a worker hurt themselves on purpose, possibly because they wanted to initiate a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, that might also lead to the company trying to deny them benefits. Most of the time, even workers who made truly foolish mistakes are still eligible for workers’ compensation coverage.

Learning more about basic rules for Illinois workers’ compensation benefits can help those who may need to file a claim. Employees who know that fault generally does not affect eligibility can seek medical and disability benefits for on-the-job injuries accordingly.