If you’ve had an accident or injury at work, you may be wondering whether it could be considered “work-related” or not. Work-related injuries are often defined as any physical injury, illness, or condition that occurs during your employment with a company and related to your job duties and tasks.
In New York, understanding what is considered to be a work-related injury is important information for both employees and employers.
What Is Considered A Work Environment?
OSHA defines the work environment as the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only the physical location where work is done, but also the equipment or materials used by the employees during the course of their work.
Work environments extend far outside the typical office building. Work environments can include construction sites, warehouses, factories, or other off-site locations where work is performed. Understanding the broad scope of what is considered to be a work environment is crucial in identifying potential work-related injuries.
Common Work-Related Injuries
Work-related injuries can be categorized into physical injuries, occupation illnesses, or repetitive stress injuries (RSIs).
Physical injuries are the most common type of work-related injuries that occur. Physical work-related injuries can result from, but are not limited to:
- Slip and falls or trip and falls
- Lifting accidents
- Being struck with debris
- Machinery mishaps or failures
- Reckless behavior from a fellow employee
Certain occupations can expose workers to hazards that can lead to illness over time. These illnesses can result from exposure to harmful chemicals, toxins, or other substances that can cause long-term health issues such as:
- Asbestosis or mesothelioma
- Hearing loss
For a full list of acknowledged occupational illnesses, visit the CDC’s website.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) can result from continuous, repetitive motions over a course of time. These injuries result from performing the same task or activity daily, for an extended period of time. Some common RSIs include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Back strains and sprains
- Osgood-Schlatter disease
Can A Work-Related Injury Happen Outside Of The Physical Workplace?
Of course, not all work-related injuries must happen at the workplace. There are instances where injuries that occur outside the work environment are considered to be work-related:
Injuries While Commuting
Many may wonder if injuries caused in a car accident commuting to or from work could be considered a work-related injury. Oftentimes, commute injuries are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
However, if you were “on-the-clock” or within the scope of your employment at the time of the automobile accident, your injuries may count as work-related. For example, if you were tasked with delivering materials to a client and you were involved in an accident while driving a company vehicle, your injuries would most likely be covered.
Injuries At Work-Related Events
Work-related events, such as conferences or company outings, can also lead to injuries. Employers may be held responsible for the injury if the event is directly related to work activities, and the injury occurred in the course of employment.
For example, a company-sponsored gathering is taking place at an off-site banquet facility when an injury occurs. If the employee was injured and was not acting negligently, then workers’ compensation insurance may cover their injuries. On the other hand, if a group of coworkers gathered for happy hour outside of working hours and an injury occurred, workers’ compensation would not cover the injury.
Can Non-Work Related Accidents Occur In The Workplace?
There are several situations where an accident that occurs at the workplace is not considered to be a work-related injury:
- The accident occurred when the employee was at the workplace off-the-clock, making them a member of the public.
- The accident occurred as a result of voluntary participation in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity that falls outside of the employee’s scope of employment. For example, blood donation, flu shots, or exercise at the workplace.
- The injury was a result of the employee undertaking personal tasks that weren’t related to their employment at the workplace.
Do I Need An Attorney For A Work-Related Injury?
In many instances, seeking legal representation is advisable when handling work-related injury claims. An experienced attorney can help to navigate the complexities of workers’ compensation claims by ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
If a third party is also found to be partially liable for your injuries, your attorney can also provide you with guidance on how to pursue a personal injury claim.
Injured At Work? Call Cellino
If you sustained a work-related injury, you are within your right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. While some people are able to navigate the process of filing a workers’ comp claim for their injuries, many are not sure how to deal with the appeals process if their claim is denied.
Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that your paperwork is filed correctly, your employee rights are protected, and you receive a fair amount of compensation for your injuries or illness. For a free consultation with a member of our legal team, contact Cellino Law at 888-888-8888.
Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.
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