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Reckless Behavior at Work Can Hurt You in More Ways than One


If you were engaging in risky behaviors or horseplay and were injured as a result, you may not be eligible.

reckless behavior at work

Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance that companies and businesses in Missouri are mandated to carry in the event that one of their employees gets hurt while working. Just because you are hurt during working hours, however, doesn’t always mean that you are eligible to collect workers’ compensation. There have to be very specific elements in place for you to be able to collect. You have to be performing under the scope and authority of your employment duties, or you may not be eligible for workmens comp benefits.

When an Employees Actions Can Negate their Claim

Although workers’ compensation eligibility isn’t dependent on negligence, there are times when the actions of an employee can negate their ability to collect. As stated above, to collect workers’ compensation, you have to prove that you were working under the scope and the authority of your employer. But there are times when – even if you were performing work duties – if you were also doing things that were reckless or criminal, that can be grounds for having your claim denied.

Types of Risky Behaviors

If you are engaging in any criminal activity when you are in an accident, then you will probably not be able to collect. For instance, if you were driving a forklift in a warehouse and you got into an accident, you would be eligible to collect. But if you were found to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, and the insurance company can prove that it was your impairment that led to your accident, then you will likely not be able to collect.

In the same way, if you were engaging in risky behaviors or horseplay, then you might not be capable of recovering your medical costs. If you are messing around at work or engaging in risk-taking behaviors and you are failing to behave as any reasonable person would, then the insurance company might deny your claim. The concept of “reasonableness” in workers’ compensation means that any reasonable person would have taken better care to ensure their own safety. If the insurance company can prove that you were acting recklessly, then they will probably work to deny your claim.

Proving Eligibility

So although workers’ compensation eligibility is not like personal injury law in that no one needs to be at fault or negligent, if you fail to take reasonable steps to ensure your safety, then the insurance company might have the right to deny your coverage. If there is a problem with your claim for workers’ compensation, it is important to speak with a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you can prove eligibility.

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Updated: March 11, 2022
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