Many clients ask for my guidance to determine whether or not they qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if it was their own fault that they were injured on the job.
The answer is Yes! But it is a common misunderstanding to think the opposite. North Carolina is a "no-fault" system, meaning it does not matter if it was your fault that you got hurt at work you are still eligible for workers' comp benefits.
There are, however, a couple exceptions of which you should be aware:
- You are not entitled to compensation if the injury was caused by your intoxication or illegal drug use (note: this exception does not apply if the employer provides the alcohol). The burden is on the employer to show that the employee was considerably impaired and that the impairment is what actually caused the injury.
- You are not entitled to compensation if your injury was the result of your intentional act to injure or kill yourself or someone else.
What if the reason for your injury was that you were not following safety rules? Good news. Even in that instance, you are still due workman’s comp. But keep this in mind: Even though an employee’s failure to follow safety rules does not keep them from getting workers' comp benefits, it may allow the insurance company to reduce the benefits they receive by 10% due to the employee’s willful failure to comply with safety rules.
Would you like to know more about your rights in a worker’s comp case? Or do you need someone to help you navigate the process, put your mind at ease and make sure your rights are protected? At Oxner + Permar, that’s exactly why we’re here and why we love to do what we do.