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Workers' compensation and what it covers

Along with complying with OSHA regulations, the majority of businesses in Minnesota and throughout the country are obligated to provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees. A few types of on-the-job injuries and illnesses may include a hearing loss because of constant loud machinery, black lung disease from coal mining or spinal damage resulting from collapsed scaffolding.

Employees are allowed workers' compensation benefits only if their injuries took place during work hours. However, employees do not necessarily have to be on the business property to be eligible for the coverage. Examples include truck drivers who work for the company while away from the job site, and employees attending events such as company-sponsored parties occurring in a place not owned by the business. Additionally, employees who suffer an injury while on a meal break may be covered under the provisions, as long as the employee was on the company's property during work hours. However, employees on break at another facility may also be covered. A lunch hour in which an employee spends time with a customer at an eating establishment is one such example.

Workers' compensation benefits may also cover injured employees who purposely ignored safety regulations at the time of their injury. However, each state has its own set of laws regarding this issue. Other injuries that may be covered may include those stemming from preexisting conditions that deteriorated because of employment, as well as psychological illnesses such as depression or anxiety that directly resulted from the worker's job.

Employees may benefit from the assistance of a workers' compensation attorney in the preparation and filing of a claim for benefits after they have incurred a workplace injury. Legal counsel can also be helpful in a subsequent hearing if the claim is denied or disputed.

Source: Findlaw, "What Types of Injuries are Compensable Under Workers' Compensation?", accessed on May 6, 2015

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Law Office of David M. Bialke
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