Can You Receive Workers Compensation For Long-Term, Job-Related Injuries?

1 December 2014
 Categories: Law, Articles


If you've recently been noticing pain or limited movement you believe is the result of a long-term, job-related injury, you may be wondering about your options. Although your injury may be due to job duties -- and therefore render you eligible to receive workers compensation payments, or even have your medical bills covered by your employer -- proving your job has caused your injury can be complicated. Read on to learn more about the type of evidence that can assist you in your workers compensation claim, as well as how long-term injuries are treated under most state workers compensation laws.

What is workers compensation?

Workers compensation is a type of insurance, paid by your employer, that will pay your medical expenses and lost wages if you are injured while on the job. In many cases, if you suffer overuse or long-term injuries as a result of your job duties (for example, carpal tunnel or tennis elbow) you can also receive workers compensation for these injuries. Workers compensation does not last forever, but may serve as a financial buffer while you apply for federal or state disability payments.

What will you need to prove to obtain workers compensation?

To receive workers compensation, it is not sufficient to be injured while on the job -- you must prove you were injured during the commission of job-related duties. For example, an injury suffered while commuting to and from work may not qualify for workers compensation, while an injury suffered while on job-related travel will qualify. If your employer does not feel that your injury is sufficiently related to your job duties, it may contest your claim (similar to unemployment insurance).

While making your claim, you may be required to furnish your medical records or sign a release form that allows the workers compensation insurer to access these records. In some cases, the insurer may even require you to undergo an examination by a nurse or physician employed by the insurance company to ensure your injuries are consistent with those described on your application.

It's important to seek treatment as soon as possible for injuries you suspect are the result of a work-related incident or duty. Not only will earlier treatment allow you more treatment options, it may help your chances of success on your workers compensation claim. Insurers are less likely to cover losses resulting from workplace injuries if it is clear the injuries have been made more severe by a delay in seeking treatment.

How do states treat long-term or chronic use injuries under workers compensation laws?

Luckily, not every injury covered by workers compensation needs to be sudden or serious -- chronic use injuries are also eligible for workers compensation payments. However, if you're seeking workers compensation for an injury like this, you may need to provide some additional documentation. Not only will you have to demonstrate the severity of your injury and its cause, you'll need to document the length of time during which you've been performing the activities responsible for your injury.

You may also be subject to a home visit or questions about your personal life. For example, if you're submitting a claim for carpal tunnel injuries but still gardening several hours per week, the insurer may not view your injuries as severe enough to justify payment from your employer. You'll be best served by being completely honest on your application and disclosing any outside activities that may impact your claim. If the insurer later discovers that you omitted relevant information from your application, you may be required to repay any benefits received.

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