There are many situations which may result in a workers’ compensation claim. Workers who are hurt on the job are entitled to benefits if the injury is work related. As a general rule, workers’ compensation laws are based on a “no fault” system meaning compensation should be available regardless of who was responsible for the accident. In unique situations however, fault can be a determining factor in whether or not a person is eligible for benefits.
In November 2007, an accident occurred in Illinois where a state trooper lost control of his vehicle while responding to a traffic emergency. The accident resulted in the death of two occupants of a car hit by the trooper’s vehicle as well as injuries to the trooper himself. The tragedy may have been avoided had the trooper not been driving recklessly while talking on his cell phone.
The trooper filed a workers’ compensation claim which triggered the passing of Senate Bill 1147 and subsequent laws similar in other states. As stated by Illinois Representative Dwight Kay,. “It’s simply common sense that taxpayers and employers should not have to pay an employee for an injury that arises out of the commission of a felony while on the job.”
This brings up an interesting yet often overlooked aspect of workers’ compensation that is not usually considered. Employees must understand that despite laws which protect them and ensure coverage in the event of injury on the job, not all situations will result in benefits being paid.