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Can an employer deny an injured worker benefits due to a mistake?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

Every job involves some risk of injury, although the specific risks depend on someone’s chosen profession. Construction workers have very different safety concerns than nurses working in hospitals, for example, although falls and interpersonal violence are concerns in almost every profession. Some worker injuries and illnesses are the result of unusual situations that no one could control, while other times it may be obvious that one party involved in the incident is directly to blame for what happened.

One of the many reasons that Florida workers may find themselves worrying about opposition to a workers’ compensation claim is that their employer blames them for their injury. Does making a mistake while lifting something in a warehouse or working on an assembly line make the worker who gets hurt responsible for their own injuries?

Fault usually doesn’t matter

Some employers will try to lie to their workers in the hopes of avoiding a workers’ compensation claim and then accommodation requests so they can stay on the job. Misrepresenting the law or the rights of the worker is a common tactic that employers use to scare people out of filing a claim. Employees may worry that they will get fired if they try to seek benefits when their employers blame them for their injuries. However, it is illegal for businesses to retaliate against workers for seeking benefits or reporting an injury that occurs on the job. Additionally, it rules for workers’ compensation in Florida are very clear.

It is a no-fault system that will cover a worker’s claim regardless of who actually caused the incident. In scenarios where employers attempt to blame injured workers, they would generally need to prove that the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which caused their work injury, or that they broke company policy or the law immediately prior to the incident that left them injured. Otherwise, no degree of personal liability typically eliminates the worker’s right to benefits unless there is proof that they hurt themselves on purpose.

Seeking legal guidance to learn about the rules that apply to workers’ compensation claims may help Florida employees to make effective use of the systems in place for their protection, even if their employers try to trick or manipulate them.