Workplace injuries are relatively common, with 2.3 million work-related accidents reported per year. The most common injuries include overexertion and slips and falls, but there are countless ways to get injured on the job. Even a benign office environment can result in a serious injury.
As a general rule, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will compensate you for the cost of your injury, including lost wages, medical bills, and retraining. This is true even if the incident that led to your injury was your fault.
However, several exceptions apply to this rule, including what happens if you violate a company policy. In this article, we’ll go over this rule and share a real-world scenario about workers’ compensation in Virginia.
Is Workers’ Compensation Available for Employees Who Violated a Company Rule?
Some jobs are more dangerous than others, and a company will generally have a set of rules that employees must follow while on the premises. The rules could pertain to wearing safety gear, handling machinery and materials, and performing tasks in a particular way.
If an employee violates a company rule, they are frequently barred from collecting workers’ compensation benefits. This is especially true if the employee was aware of the policy and purposefully violated it.
Workers’ compensation in Virginia can be challenging for an employee to receive because it’s the insurance company’s job to find any possible reason to deny a claim. They will look for evidence that you knowingly violated a policy, and that violation caused your injury. It’s not uncommon for the insurance company to ask dozens of questions in different ways, waiting for you to answer in a way that invalidates your claim.
Even if you violated a company rule, there are some situations where you can still collect benefits. Examples include:
– Lack of training: If you’re a new employee who hasn’t been fully trained, you may have unknowingly violated the rule.
– Unclear or ambiguous rules: If the company has conflicting policies or the rules are hard to understand, compliance may be impossible.
– Failure to post rule: If your employer has not informed you of rules or posted them in a readily accessible place, you can argue that you were unaware of the rule.
– The violation is not related to the accident: You may have broken a company rule, but if the violation has nothing to do with your actual injury, it might not be relevant to your claim.
– The violation was a mistake: Mistakes happen, and even if you broke a rule, if you did so without purposeful intent, you could still argue your case.
These examples do not cover all possible scenarios where you may still be able to receive benefits despite violating a rule. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether your violation is likely to bar you from compensation.
Contact a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’ve been injured on the job, we highly recommend getting in touch with an attorney to help ensure your rights are protected. As you can see from Loretta’s case, there are many ways an employee can get tripped up and inadvertently say or do something that causes an insurance company to deny a workers’ compensation claim.
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, we provide guidance and counsel to Virginia employees to help them recover a fair settlement. Contact us for a free consultation.