You can get workers’ compensation benefits in Virginia even if the work injury was your fault. One of the things the Virginia workers’ compensation system got right is that it is a “no fault” system. This means that even if an your action or oversight contributed to your injury, you can still receive benefits. However, there are exceptions. If the injury was your fault because you were drunk or under the influence of another substance while on the job, then you likely will not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If you were playing around at work doing non-work related things (chatting with your buddies or tossing something around) then you would not be covered under workers’ compensation insurance, as it has an exception for “horseplay.” The “horseplay” Rule states that if you get injured doing something that is not related to your job, then the claim is not compensation under workers’ compensation insurance.
The downfall to this “no fault” system, however, is that because there is no fault finding with workers’ compensation insurance, there is no “negligence.” I get a lot of calls from injured workers who were injured and feel that the employer could have prevented their injury and they want to sue their employer for the negligence. Unfortunately, the workers’ compensation system does not allow for this. On the other hand, your employer can’t sue you for an injury that you were involved in.
If you have questions about the Virginia workers’ compensation process or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia”, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.