If you are like most people, work is an important part of your life. Not only does it provide you and your family with an income, but work is also important for showcasing your skills and passion. Of course, certain issues can affect your ability to work and earn an income. Accidents, injuries, and illnesses that have occurred at or because of your work may qualify for worker's compensation benefits, meaning that while you may not be able to work, you will still have the income to pay for bills, basic living expenses, and medical care. Unfortunately, most people do not understand the process of qualifying for worker's comp benefits. By learning the truth behind these common myths, you will understand worker's compensation.

Myth: Injuries Only Qualify for Benefits

Injuries may be the most common worker's compensation claim, but there are many other issues that could warrant filing a worker's compensation claim. In addition to actual injuries, such as a broken leg or back pain from a fall, certain chronic pain issues, diseases, and illnesses could qualify you for worker's comp benefits.

Repetitive strain, for instance, is one problem many people are surprised to learn are caused by their job. Using your hands repetitively at work or bending and lifting continuously could cause strain that leads to chronic pain and immobility.

Working in certain environments where you are exposed to chemicals, allergens, or pollution could lead to diseases and illnesses that qualify you for worker's compensation. If you work in a coal mine and are exposed to coal dust, you may develop black lung disease that affects your breathing. If you work in a hospital and are exposed to HIV or another virus, you may be at risk of disease/illness that would warrant a worker's comp claim.

Certain states also offer worker's comp benefits for workers who are suffering from stress and anxiety disorders related to their jobs.

Each case is different, so discussing your issues with a worker's comp attorney is best.

Myth: Filing a Worker's Comp Claim Could Get You Fired

Another myth people believe is that they file a worker's compensation claim, they will most likely lose their job. Fortunately, this myth is not true, but the issue is not so black and white.

There are laws in place stating your employer cannot retaliate against you and your worker's comp claim. However, just because you are out on worker's comp disability and receiving benefits does not mean your job will be held for you.

If you have been out of work for a long period of time because of your injury, your employer does have the right to hire a replacement. Your employer may offer you a different position or not, depending on what is required by your current state's laws.

It is also important to note that your employer does have the right to terminate your employment for other reasons even while you are out on worker's comp. If layoffs are necessary for the business or you have a history of disciplinary problems or poor performance, these are legitimate reasons for terminating your employment.

Myth: Worker's Comp Not Payable If Injury Was Your Fault

There are instances where you may have caused an accident, which resulted in an injury. In these cases, you may be wondering if you would qualify for worker's comp benefits. While surprising to learn, worker's comp would be paid even if you were technically at fault.

For example, if you made a mistake using a piece of machinery, which led to the injury, you would still be able to receive worker's comp benefits. There are exceptions to this rule, though.

If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident/injury, not only will your benefits be refused, but you may also be at risk of losing your employment.

Reach out to a law firm such as Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP to learn more.