Sustaining an injury at work can be life altering and difficult to navigate. Knowing when you can seek to recover damages from a work-related injury could help you get back on track to recovering and regaining normality in your life. MartinWren’s experienced Charlottesville Personal Injury Lawyers are qualified and willing to assist if your work-related injury claim is not barred by workers’ compensation.
when can i seek worker’s compensation benefits?
In workers’ compensation law, a compensable injury is defined as an “injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment or occupation.” Worker’s compensation does not apply for any accident that occurs at your place of work; there must exist a causal relationship between a work-related risk and event and the injury that ensued.
Some of the rules in the workers’ compensation context are much less stringent than in a personal injury action. This is because employees must be able to perform their dangerous jobs without having to worry that they will lose income in the event they are injured during work. But because these claims are simpler than a normal personal injury action, an employee is barred from suing his or her employer for an injury that occurs during work.
six factors that establish a causal connection
There are six factors that establish a causal connection between a work related risk and an injury, and each must be proven for the injury to fall under the Worker’s Compensation Act.
- There must exist a medically recognized causal connection between the conditions of work and the “occupational disease” or injury,
- The injury followed naturally and uninterrupted from the work related exposed,
- The injury can be fairly traced to the occupation as a proximate cause (“an event sufficiently related to a legally recognizable injury to be held to be the cause of that injury”),
- The injury is not an ailment that the plaintiff would have had exposure to outside of the work environment,
- The injury is specific to the job, and did not happen outside the relationship of employer-employee, and
- Even if the injury was not foreseen, the risk originated in the line of work the plaintiff is in.
These six factors must be proven before an injured worker can receive worker’s compensation benefits for a work-related injury.
the “actual risk” test
Causation is often the big issue to be proven in worker’s compensation claims. By applying an “actual risk” test, legal professionals can assess whether the injury falls under the Worker’s Compensation Act.
Under the test, the specific risk that caused the injury is examined, and it must be shown that the injury followed naturally from an event in the workplace that is specific to the line of work. This test excludes any injuries that the greater population could be exposed to regardless of their involvement in this occupational relationship. This includes situations including bending, walking, and turning, because the public is also exposed to these risks, so they would not be specific to any line of work.
let us assist you with your claim
Experienced and caring Personal Injury Lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. are available to discuss whether your work-related injury may entitle you to pursue a personal injury claim. Residents in Charlottesville, Virginia can contact Robert Byrne, one of our Charlottesville VA Workplace Injury Lawyers, at (434) 817-3100 for a free consultation to receive the help you deserve.