What injuries are covered by workers’ compensation?

Dealing with the aftermath of an unexpected workplace injury or trauma can create a lot of additional stress. Between lost income, a need for rest and healing, medical expenses, and difficulties in navigating the workers’ compensation process, workplace injuries add strain to everyday life.

If you’ve been injured at work, you should be able to prioritize your personal health and safety. While the workers’ comp process may be complex and often confusing, it is your right to access those benefits if the circumstances of the injury call for it.

Beginning the workers’ compensation filing process as soon as possible after sustaining an injury is crucial in securing the benefits to which you may be entitled. Reaching out to a workers’ compensation attorney, familiarizing yourself with which conditions and injuries qualify you for workers’ comp can make the process smoother in the long run. 

Physical Harm

If you suffer an accidental physical injury while acting within your job duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Qualifying physical workplace injuries include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Severe slips and falls;
  • Being struck by a moving object; 
  • Injuries resulting from vehicle use;
  • Machine entanglement; and
  • Physical assault.

Off-site Injuries 

If you sustain an injury while operating within your job duties off-site, like a vehicular accident while commuting to visit a client/customer, or completing a required task, you may be entitled to compensation.

Preexisting Conditions

If you have a preexisting injury or condition that is exacerbated by your job duties, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation. This can include physical injuries like bad knees or back problems, as well as mental conditions like PTSD, depression, and anxiety which have been aggravated by your line of work. You must work with a medical professional to determine that your job duties are contributing to worsening a preexisting condition. 

Psychological Harm

Sometimes, such as when a traumatic event occurs at work, the injury incurred may be psychological. In order to be compensated for psychological stress, you must be able to demonstrate that you have experienced something greater than the day-to-day emotional strain all employees experience in your line of work. 

In Wisconsin, you may receive workers’ compensation for PTSD resulting from extraordinary events that are abnormal for your line of work. For most professions, this includes: 

  • Witnessing a catastrophic or fatal injury of another employee;
  • Guilt resulting from causing a catastrophic or fatal injury to another employee; or
  • Prolonged or severe psychological or verbal abuse from other employees. 

To receive workers’ compensation for psychological conditions including PTSD, depression,  and anxiety, you must receive a diagnosis from a medical professional, and you must prove that your condition was primarily caused by your work or that the condition arose due to a physical injury you suffered at work. If the psychological injury results from a physical injury at work, you may be entitled to compensation for both.

Occupational Disease

An occupational disease is a health condition that you have developed over an extended period of time due to the nature of your work. This can include health issues related to exposure to substances, or conditions that are sustained from your physical job requirements. 

In order to receive compensation for occupational diseases, you must meet with a medical professional to determine that your occupation is the cause of your symptoms. 

What Does Not Qualify for Workers’ Comp?

However, there are many restrictions and caveats that many prevent you from qualifying for workers’ compensation, including:

  • If your injury can be remedied with basic first aid. This classification of injury includes small scrapes, cuts, bruises, or even a singular headache; and 
  • If you were not acting within the scope of your job duties when sustaining the injury, such as during your commute, lunch breaks, or horseplay, or you were injured while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. 

Schedule a Consultation

The process to secure workers’ compensation does not have to be painful. Attorney Rachel Fitzgerald is an expert at navigating the workers’ compensation process and will be a tireless advocate for you as you work to secure the benefits and care you deserve. Take an important step in securing your compensation and schedule a free consultation today.

Written by
Fitzgerald Law Firm