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Important guidelines involving workers' compensation

Safety authorities say most workplace accidents are avoidable if prescribed safety regulations are followed. However, on-the-job injuries continue to happen, and employees are sometimes blamed for causing the accidents in which they were injured. Fortunately, the New York workers' compensation program is a no-fault system, which provides benefits regardless of who was at fault.

In exchange for this assurance, injured workers are expected to refrain from filing lawsuits against their employers. As with all legal matters, exceptions exist. Workers who can prove that intentional malice or gross negligence by their employers led to the incidents that caused their injuries might have grounds to file personal injury lawsuits in a civil court. Similarly, employers who believe that an employee was injured off-duty or that his or her willful misconduct caused the injuries may reject the benefits claim.

Reasons for rejected workers' compensation claims include proof that the injured worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the workplace accident. On-the-job injuries that resulted from horseplay or physical fighting may also lead to rejected claims. Claims for benefits for injuries that happened outside of working hours could be denied, but those that occurred at a company-sponsored event will qualify as job-related injuries. This will apply even if alcohol was involved at an occasion in which employee presence was mandatory.

New York workers who have questions about their eligibility to file benefits claims may get answers from an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Those whose claims were denied may also find the assistance of a lawyer to be invaluable. By following the appropriate procedures, an attorney may be able to secure all the benefits to which an injured worker is entitled.

Source: FindLaw, "Can You Still Get Workers' Comp If You Were at Fault?", Brett Snider, Accessed on Jan. 19, 2018

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