Workers compensation is a vital safety net. However, it’s important to understand that not all injuries and situations are covered by workers compensation in Ohio. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has specific guidelines and exclusions to determine what is eligible for coverage.
If you have questions about whether you qualify for benefits, contact our Ohio workers’ comp lawyers.
Optional Recreational Activities
One common exclusion from workers compensation coverage in Ohio is injuries that occur during optional work-sponsored recreational activities. While many workplaces organize team-building outings or company picnics, injuries sustained during these activities are generally not covered.
Whether it’s a game of flag football, a volleyball match, or a swim in the company pool, workers compensation benefits do not extend to injuries incurred during these voluntary recreational activities.
Pre-Existing Injuries Not Aggravated by Your Job
Under Ohio workers compensation law, pre-existing conditions not substantially aggravated by the current job are generally not compensable.
For instance, if an employee has a pre-existing back condition that causes occasional pain, they cannot seek workers compensation benefits solely for that condition.
However, if the current job significantly aggravates the pre-existing condition, resulting in additional pain or impairment, the employee may be eligible for benefits related to the aggravation.
Injuries During Work Commute
In most cases, injuries sustained during an employee’s commute to and from work are not covered by workers compensation. Whether the employee drives their vehicle, rides as a passenger in a co-worker’s car, or uses public transit, these injuries are typically considered outside the scope of work-related accidents.
Even if the employee is en route to their workplace and has not made any other stops, the injury is not usually deemed a workplace accident. However, there may be exceptions to this rule, so consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is advised to determine the validity of a claim.
Injuries from Intentional Self-Harm or Horseplay
Workers compensation benefits are generally not available for injuries intentionally caused by the employee themselves. This includes self-inflicted injuries, such as intentionally cutting oneself.
Additionally, injuries resulting from horseplay, pranks, play-fighting, or general goofing are typically excluded from workers compensation coverage. However, if a co-worker or customer assaults an employee during a work-related altercation, they may qualify for workers compensation benefits.
Illegal Activities and Intoxication
Injuries that occur while an employee is engaged in illegal activities, such as trespassing or stealing materials from a worksite, are generally not covered by workers compensation. Similarly, injuries that happen while an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol are typically excluded from coverage.
Employers often conduct drug tests after workplace accidents, and having a prescription for medical marijuana does not serve as an excuse for failing a drug screen.
Injuries Caused by Safety Violations or Lack of Training
Workers compensation generally does not cover Injuries arising from an employee’s violation of safety rules or failure to follow proper procedures. This can include not wearing protective clothing or equipment, lifting heavy objects with improper form, or disregarding safety protocols.
Similarly, injuries that occur while an employee performs tasks for which they lack the necessary training or credentials may not be compensable. For example, if an employee drives a company truck without a commercial driver’s license and gets injured, they may not be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
Injuries Outside the Scope of Job Responsibilities
Workers compensation coverage typically applies to injuries that occur within the scope of an employee’s job responsibilities. However, if an injury occurs while an employee performs a task well outside their job description, it may not be covered.
For instance, if an accountant decides to rewire the light above their cubicle and sustains an injury in the process, it may not be considered a compensable workplace accident. The task must be directly related to the employee’s job and within the reasonable expectations of their role.
Limited Coverage for Injuries During Work-Related Travel
While injuries sustained during the commute to and from work are generally not covered, there is usually workers compensation coverage for injuries that occur during work-related travel.
If an employee is required to travel for work purposes and sustains an injury while on that business trip, they may be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
It’s important to note that each case is evaluated individually, and the specific circumstances surrounding the travel will be considered.
Call an Experienced Ohio Workers Compensation Attorney
Navigating the complexities of Ohio workers compensation claims can be daunting, especially when determining coverage eligibility. That’s where our experienced team of Ohio workers compensation attorneys comes in.
We’re dedicated to helping you understand your rights and securing the benefits you deserve. If you’ve been injured at work or have questions about a potential claim, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (833) 406-0060.