Are Employers Liable if You’re Hurt While Breaking the Rules at Work?

In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to maintain basic standards of safety. These standards differ by industry – someone working in an auto repair shop is going to come into frequent contact with dangerous machinery more often than someone working an office job – but they are in place to ensure that employers take employee safety carefully. In addition to federal standards, employers may have their own safety rules that employees are required to follow. If an employee is injured on the job due to negligence by the employer, the employer is liable and must pay workers compensation.

Workers Compensation: What is it, and what does it cover?

Workers compensation is the name for the money that an employer pays to an employee when they are injured on the job. It is a form of insurance for the employee, ensuring that they will not lose wages or have to pay medical bills due to injuries suffered on the job. In the case of serious injuries requiring recovery time, worker’s comp will pay an employee’s salary. It will also cover medical bills sustained as a result of a workplace injury.

Workers comp, injuries, and rule-breaking

Worker’s compensation is a benefit to employees who might otherwise go into serious debt because of an employer’s lax standards. But what about workers comp benefits for employees who were injured while not following safety procedures or otherwise breaking employer-issued rules?

Employees can receive workers comp for situations in which injuries occur while breaking the rules in some but not all cases. The rules for this vary state-by-state, but being injured while breaking the rules or not following safety procedure could lead to a decreased amount of worker’s comp or none at all.

An employer compensating for injury does not prevent an employee from being disciplined for breaking the rules. While employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees for filing workers comp claims, they are also entitled to discipline workers, provided that they do not solely discipline injured rule-breakers who file workers comp claims and do maintain specific safety rules and frequently monitor for compliance.

What to do if you think you have a worker’s comp claim

If you were injured on the job and wanted to know if you have a claim, contact a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with the laws surrounding worker’s compensation claims in your particular state, including what might change if your injury was a result of rule-breaking. A personal injury lawyer will help you to determine if you have a case for worker’s compensation and can advise you on the process as well.


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