Most injured workers don’t have to worry about fault affecting their right to compensation. Under the existing program in Minnesota, workers’ compensation benefits are available on a no-fault basis to any eligible employee who incurs a significant injury or develops a debilitating medical condition because of their job responsibilities.
They can potentially receive a combination of health benefits to pay for their medical treatment and disability benefits to help replace their income while they are unable to work. Employees don’t have to prove that the company did something wrong that lead to them getting hurt, and they also don’t need to prove that they are blameless for the situation that led to their harm.
No-fault coverage means that if a worker makes a mistake or causes an accident that leaves them injured, they can still receive appropriate benefits. However, there are two scenarios in which a worker’s fault might influence their eligibility for workers’ compensation.
If they hurt themselves intentionally
There are some people who desperately want time away from work and will do whatever it takes to qualify for a leave of absence. That might even include intentionally injuring themselves by causing an incident at work so that they can receive disability benefits and an excused absence. When employers have evidence, like security camera footage or social media posts, that supports a claim that someone hurt themselves on purpose, that worker may not be able to qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.
If they get hurt due to intoxication
Employers expect that workers will show up sober and capable of performing their job. However, especially when people have substance abuse disorders, they may try to get away with doing their jobs while under the influence of mind-altering substances. If someone fails a drug or alcohol test after an injury on the job and their employer can directly relate their injury to their intoxication, that individual may have a harder time claiming workers’ compensation coverage.
With the exception of these and other rare exceptions, workers usually don’t have to worry about their personal fault playing much of a role in filing a benefits claim after getting hurt on the job. Understanding the rules that govern workers’ compensation coverage can help those worried about covering their costs after a job-related injury. Seeking legal guidance to obtain greater clarity is always an option.