Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits If The Injury Was My Fault?
After suffering a workplace injury in Vermont, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim and recover benefits. This is because all employers in Vermont carry workers’ compensation coverage. But what if your injury was your fault? Can you still file a workers’ compensation claim and recover benefits? Often, workers who suffer an injury while on the job put off filing workers’ compensation claims if they believe they did something that contributed to their injury. In Vermont, however, the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. Employees are protected by the no-fault rule and can recover workers’ compensation benefits even if they are to blame for their injury, except under limited circumstances. Keep reading to learn more.
What Does No-fault Mean?
So what exactly does no-fault mean? This means that it does not matter who caused the injury. An injured employee is covered even if they were to blame for their work-related injury. Vermont’s minimum requirement for workers’ compensation benefits is that your injury was work-related.
The no-fault system also means that you do not have to prove that your employer did something wrong that resulted in your injury. The no-fault system protects you as an employee, and it also protects your employer. You cannot sue your employer for damages in exchange for guaranteed benefits. However, you can file a lawsuit against a third party responsible for your injury. A claim against a third party is called a personal injury claim. If a third party is to blame for your work injury, you can even file both a workers’ compensation and personal injury claim.
Exceptions to the No-fault Rule
As hinted earlier, there are some exceptions to the no-fault rule. In Vermont, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you get injured because of;
- Intoxication – If you were intoxicated due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol, you might be barred from recovering workers’ compensation benefits if your employer can prove that your intoxication directly led to your injury.
- Willful intent – If you purposely caused harm to yourself, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
- Failure to use a safety appliance provided – If, for example, you failed to use a face shield supplied to you by your employer and ended up suffering a facial injury, you may not be qualified to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
You Must Build a Strong Case
Although Vermont’s workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, you must still build a strong case if you want to receive the benefits you deserve. The insurance company will try its best to deny or devalue your claim. The following are some of the steps to take after suffering a workplace injury that could strengthen your workers’ compensation claim;
- Get prompt medical treatment
- Immediately report your injury to your employer
- Gather evidence
- Follow your doctor’s advice
- Hire a skilled attorney
Contact a Vermont Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you suffered a work injury and need help seeking the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to, contact our skilled and dedicated Vermont workers’ compensation attorney at Sluka Law PLC today.