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Workers’ Compensation and Disobeying Company Policy

Regardless of how a work-related injury has occurred, the employer is obligated to provide the employee with medical care.

safety-rulesYou may have heard of no-fault insurance in regards to your automobile policy. This is an extra premium you pay that guarantees some coverage in the event of an accident, regardless of who caused it. In other words, even if you blew the red light, your insurance company would have to help pay for the damages caused. The same premise applies with workers’ compensation insurance.

The Importance of Safety Rules

Regardless of how an accident or injury occurred, the employer is still obligated to provide the employee with medical care. There are very few exceptions to this rule; one of them being a direct disobedience of a safety rule the employer has in place. The benefit to the employer for providing this insurance is that they too cannot be held liable if the accident was the result of negligence on their part. In some cases, an employer may get greedy and want his benefit without having to pay the cost. In the event that you are being denied compensation and the reason given is that the injury was your own fault, you need to speak with a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

Four Essential Elements the Employer Must Prove

In an effort at keeping insurance premiums down and reduce the number of work-related injuries, many employers have enacted strict safety guidelines that their employees are expected to adhere to. In some circumstances, disobeying these guidelines could be used to deny you workers’ compensation benefits, but the employer must first prove four essential elements:

  • That the employer had adopted a reasonable rule for the protection and safety of their employees.
  • That the accident or injury was a result by the employee of disobeying that rule.
  • That the employee had prior knowledge of the rule.
  • That the employer was consistent in ensuring that the rule was followed and made a reasonable effort to enforce the rule.

Receiving Compensation Even If It Is Your Fault

Take the case of a Missouri worker who spent a good deal of her time driving as part of her employment. At no time was any effort made on the part of the employer to enforce driving rules for its employees. When the employee was subsequently injured in a car accident, the employer tried to deny her workers’ compensation benefits, citing that the employee was responsible for her own injuries. Despite evidence that the employee was speeding and not wearing her seatbelt, the labor commission still decided on her behalf. While there was a policy in place that ordered employees to obey all laws, no effort was ever made on the employer’s part to ensure that the rule was being adhered to.

A denied employee will need the assistance of an astute St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney to help prove that they were not liable for an accident or injury. The burden of proof lies with the employer in these cases and a good lawyer will be able to provide evidence to rebut it.

No matter what the circumstances were surrounding your work-related accident, you should always seek assistance from a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer if your claim is denied. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.

Workplace Injury and Accident Causes

Photo credit: Matt Brown via Flickr

Updated: January 31, 2017