Considering how much time Americans spend on-the-job, it's no surprise that occupational accidents, injuries and diseases are common in the workplace. As machines began to dominate America's workforce, industrial accidents exploded and workers' livelihoods suffered tremendously.
Before workers' compensation laws were enacted in the 20th century, injured workers would have to sue their employers for damages and they would have to prove to the court that their employers were negligent. This was not an easy or efficient task for injured workers, and their families suffered as a result.
Fortunately, lawmakers nationwide recognized the system was flawed and the dire need for change; these observations soon developed into the enactment of workers' compensation laws. Today, workers' compensation is a "no-fault" system, which means an employee can file a claim regardless of their own level of fault or negligence.
In other words, even if an employee is injured because of their own mistake, they can still file a claim and collect workers' compensation. Generally, fault or negligence on behalf of the injured employee or the employer is NOT an issue, unless the employee:
- Was under the influence of alcohol at the time of injury
- Was under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of injury
- Tried to injure themselves or someone else intentionally
Generally, workers' compensation claims will be approved, but approval is not 100% guaranteed. Sometimes an employer or an insurance company will deny a claim because they argue that the employee was intoxicated at the time of the accident, the employee intentionally injured themselves, or the employee's injuries were not work-related.
Your Right to a Hearing
If your employer is fighting your workers' compensation claim, or if you are not satisfied with the commissioner's ruling, your case can be appealed to the full Commission. But, this is not a DIY case; you will be well-served by seeking advice from an experienced attorney at our firm.
To learn more about denials and appeals, we urge you to contact our firm to meet with a Columbia workers' compensation lawyer for free!