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Unsure if your circumstance counts for workers' comp? Read this.

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If you have been injured at work or during a work-related event, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim to cover expenses related to medical treatment, lost wages and more while you recover.

But, if your injury occurred in a unique “work-related event,” such as while driving to work, you may wonder what exactly constitutes a claim. Here are a few circumstances that may be exempt from workers' compensation under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

What if the injury happened while commuting to or from work?

Injury or illness caused in a motor vehicle accident while commuting to or from work are exempt from workers’ compensation benefits even if the incident occurs on a company parking lot or company access road.

What if the injury developed over time?

Injuries or illnesses that are either caused or contributed to by something in the workplace qualify for workers’ compensation. Health complications caused by exposure to asbestos is one example of these types of claims.

What if you are not working, but you are at work?

If you are injured in the workplace but are at work as a member of the general public, workers’ compensation will not be granted. This may apply to someone who is injured while shopping at a grocery or other retail facility where they work.

Do extracurricular work activities count as work-related circumstances?

Optional team bonding or intramural activities with co-workers do not fall under work-related circumstances if an injury results. For example, being injured while playing volleyball on a team that was organized at work would not qualify for workers’ compensation.

However, if the event was not volunteer-based, you may be entitled to a claim. For instance, if you were hurt during a meet-and-greet event you were obligated to manage outside of regular work hours, you may be compensated.

What if I was injured while preparing food?

Food-related injuries depend on a number of factors. If the injury or illness resulted due to an employee preparing or eating food or drink for personal consumption, the injury is exempt from workers’ compensation coverage.

However, if the employee is a cook and has injured him- or herself while preparing food for customers, a claim may be made.

A claim can also be made if food was contaminated by a supplier of the workplace and resulted in illness, such as food poisoning.

Do mental illnesses resulting from work count?

Facebook was recently sued by a former contract content moderator for not taking precautions to prevent moderators from experiencing mental illness as a result of their work.

In Wisconsin, workers’ compensation is only allowed to those who become mentally ill due to work if the employee provides the employer with a note from a qualified health care provider confirming that the patient’s mental illness is work-related.

Other exceptions

Other work-related circumstances in which an injury does not qualify for workers’ compensation include cases when:

  • You noticed an injury or illness at work that was caused outside of work
  • You injured yourself while doing something that was not related to work, such as personal grooming, self-medication for a condition not related to work or intentionally caused yourself harm
  • You become ill with the common cold or flu

If your claim for workers’ compensation was denied and did not align with the exceptions outlined above, consult with an attorney for advice. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure that your workers’ compensation rights are secured.

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Mays Law Office, LLC

6405 Century Avenue
Suite 103
Middleton, WI 53562

Phone: 608-535-4719
Fax: 608-257-0441
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