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Three instances where workers’ compensation isn’t payable

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation can help pay for your medical fees if you’re injured during work. It can also cover any wages you may have lost while recovering from your injuries and even provide you with benefits if your injuries led to temporary or permanent disability.

However, there are several instances where workers’ compensation won’t trigger. What are these instances, and what can you do if they happen to you?

No compensation for injuries related to intoxication or suicide attempts

Under North Carolina statutes, workers’ compensation doesn’t trigger if an employee is injured or killed in a work-related accident caused by the following:

  • Intoxication: If a worker gets injuries from an accident directly related to their inebriation. It’s important that the employer didn’t supply the intoxicant for this exemption to apply.
  • Under the influence: Similarly, an employee isn’t eligible for workers’ compensation if they suffered an injury while under the influence of any controlled substance.
  • Willful intention to injure or kill themselves: Workers who self-inflict an injury upon themselves are automatically exempt from workers’ compensation.

Because the employer is liable for compensation under state rules, the burden of proof for these exemptions lies upon the employer. An employer must prove that an employee’s injuries involved one of these circumstances to deny a claim.

Contesting exemptions

If an employer denies you workers’ compensation payment because your injuries were related to being intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances, you can still contest them. Because the burden of proof is on your employer, they must produce evidence that your drunken state directly contributed to your injuries.

For instance, the exemption might apply if your drunken state caused you to slip and fall during work. But if it’s found that an external factor unrelated to your inebriation caused the injury, such as a falling box, you might have a case.

While it’s true that alcohol or drug-induced impairment can raise your risk of injuries at work, you still need compensation when an unrelated work accident harms you. If your employer is being unreasonable by denying your claim, consider seeking legal counsel.