Here’s why you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim against a co-worker themselves.
People tend to think of workplace injuries as either a result of the worker’s mistake or the failure of an employer to ensure a safe work environment. However, in some cases, it’s your co-workers you should worry about.
Their mistakes could potentially end up hurting you, but are these types of cases eligible for workers comp? The short answer is yes, though you cannot file a workers’ compensation claim against the co-worker themselves.
How Does Worker’s Compensation Work?
Worker’s compensation is a no-fault state program that ensures injured or sick workers can access benefits meant to help them get back on their feet, from medical treatment to lost wages, and even disability benefits.
Because it’s a no-fault system, it generally does not matter who is to blame for your injury. You can get compensated if the accident is your fault (a mistake made by you), your employer’s (their negligence), or yes, a co-worker (their mistake).
You also don’t have to prove fault in a worker’s comp claim. The only issue that may arise in some cases is whether the injury is indeed a workplace injury, but this only occurs in certain ‘grey areas’.
When You Can’t File a Worker’s Compensation Claim
The fact that your co-worker is the one that caused you harm isn’t an issue here, but the injury or illness and the connection to your work is. The question to ask is this: did it occur in the scope of your employment?
There are some instances in which a worker’s comp claim may be denied:
- If the accident took place during a lunch break and you were not at your place of employment (such as if you went to a restaurant for lunch)
- If the accident took place during your commute to or from work (in Missouri, commutes are generally not covered under worker’s comp)
- If the incident itself is not considered work-related. For instance, if you get into an altercation with a co-worker because of a personal matter, your claim may be denied.
If you are in a situation where a worker’s comp is denied, you may have the option of filing a personal injury claim against your co-worker and seek damages. However, in these types of cases, you have to prove fault, meaning you must show your co-worker has caused you harm.
Additionally, personal injury cases take a lot longer to process than worker’s comp, so if you need medical treatment, you’ll likely need to cover it for the time being.
What Can You Do?
If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for worker’s comp, reach out to a St. Louis worker’s compensation attorney for a FREE case evaluation. They can help you determine which is the best course of action for your particular situation, and help you navigate the world of insurance claims successfully.
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