A: Not all injuries that take place at work are covered. A Virginia work injury or work related disability must have arisen from employment. That means that some part of your employment must have caused the work injury. Some situations are pretty clear. For example, if you suffered an injury in your back due to lifting a box as part of your job duties, then it will probably be covered because lifting boxes was part of your job. However, if you are just walking along and trip over your own feet, then the injury will not have arisen out of your employment because nothing that was distinct to your employment that caused your injury.
To make it more complicated, not every injury that arises from your employment is covered. If you are violating a safety rule when you are injured, you knew about the safety rule, and the violation of the safety rule caused your injury, then your injury did not arise out of your employment. It, instead, arose out of your failure to follow the safety rule. Also, repetitive injuries are not compensable. That means that, even if lifting boxes is your job, if you suffer a back injury because you lift boxes all day every day, it will not be covered. You have to have what is called an “injury by accident” which means that you can point to one specific incident which caused your back injury.
In cases of diseases that you may be arguing are compensable, arising out of means not only that the you were exposed to the conditions which caused the disease at work, but also that you were not exposed to those conditions outside of work. For example, asbestosis or mesothelioma can be considered to have arisen out of your employment if your job required that you work around asbestos and you were not exposed to asbestos outside of work. There are other concerns besides “arising out of” to prove compensability but you do have to prove that your injury or disease arose out of your employment to be covered.
Workers’ compensation claims can only be covered if your injury was caused by a specific condition at work. Any time you hurt yourself at work it is important that you immediately report it. You must also be able to tell your employer what caused the accident and injuries. This will help in determining if it was a work related injury or not.
Not every work injury case is the same. If you need help determining whether your injury arose out of your employment, it would be in your best interest to seek help from us to ensure that you will be treated fairly and receive the compensation to which you are entitled.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.