In order for a California resident to pursue workers' compensation benefits through their employer they generally must be able to show that the harm they suffered that prevents them from working was caused by their job. Some examples of workplace injuries are easy to identify, such as the harm construction workers suffer when they fall at construction sites and the wounds industrial workers suffer when they are exposed to hazardous chemicals. Other injuries, however, may be more difficult to classify as related to the victims' jobs.
For example, if a worker is hurt while eating their lunch, is their injury work-related? In order to answer this hypothetical question, an investigation into the facts must be undertaken. If the worker was on their employer's work site or in a workplace cafeteria when they were hurt, then they may be able to argue that their harm occurred while they were on the job. Injuries suffered away from work but during the workday may be more difficult to connect to one's employment.
Additionally, a worker may find that through doing their job a pre-existing injury becomes work. If, for example, a worker has a bad back and their pain increases as they do their job they may wonder if they can pursue workers' compensation benefits. Though every case should be reviewed on its own by a legal professional, in some cases pre-existing conditions that are aggravated by working may qualify for workers' compensation.
This post offers no legal advice and readers should seek legal help from attorneys who work with workers' compensation clients. Workplace injuries can occur in many different environments and in many different ways. The facts of each case will govern its treatment by those who review workers' compensation cases.