Important information regarding COVID-19 | Información importante sobre el Coronavirus

Workers’ Compensation: Is Your Injury or Illness Work-Related?

We are all exposed to injuries or accidents, even in the safest work environments. For this reason, we recommend knowing the different causes for requesting workers’ compensation. Whether from a sudden accident or illness, or injury caused by time from cumulative activity or trauma on the job.

According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an illness or injury is work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to it. Some examples are falls, blows, work-related traffic accidents, explosions, acquisition of infectious diseases (such as COVID-19), among others. These accidents or injuries must occur as a result of employment or occur during the course of employment.

In the case of occupational diseases, it can be relatively easy to prove that working conditions caused them as there is a well-established medical link, and exposure outside of work is rare.

Demonstrating a work connection can be more difficult when the illness is considered a “common life illness,” a condition that many people develop throughout their lives from various causes. That doesn’t mean it’s always impossible to get workers’ compensation benefits for heart disease, high blood pressure, lung cancer, or other common illnesses. But employees will need substantial medical evidence that workplace exposure caused or contributed to the condition.

If the accidents or injuries are outside the workplace, the process is a bit more complicated but still applies to claiming benefits. Other injuries that apply for workers’ compensation are Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). In this case, some states have special restrictions on cumulative trauma claims.

It can also happen that the person had a pre-existing condition. In this case, they can still get workers’ compensation benefits if another work-related injury aggravated that condition. Workers’ compensation likely covers the new injury because it aggravated the pre-existing condition.

If you want to know more about this matter, we invite you to contact our legal team at Grupo Via Dorada.