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Must you pay compensation to workers who injure themselves?

It is almost impossible to reduce the injury risk in your workplace to zero. You can and should implement optimum safety procedures and thorough training and provide your staff with high-quality safety equipment. Yet, despite this, it is almost inevitable that people will get injured from time to time.

When they do, they will want to claim against your workers’ compensation insurance. Yet what if you feel the worker caused the accident? Do you still have to put their claim through?

Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance

New York rules state that: “The amount that a claimant receives is not decreased by his/her carelessness, nor increased by an employer’s fault.”

So, in almost all cases, you need to process the claim and see that your employee gets their payout. However, there are a couple of exceptions:

If they were drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time

The law states that this only applies when “the injury results solely from his or her intoxication.” Hence an injured employee may look for ways to show that something else was amiss that led to the injury, aside from their inebriation.

If it results from an intent to injure themself or someone else

If an employee picked up a steel bar to hit a co-worker but failed to realize it was hot and dropped it on their own foot, you might be able to argue you do not need to pay. If they had not tried to injure their colleague, their foot would still be fine.

If you can show that someone intentionally stuck their hand in a machine to try and claim massive compensation, you might again be able to escape paying them.

Contesting a worker’s compensation claim will never be easy. If you believe you have reason to, seek legal help to assess your options.

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