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Workers' compensation: Compensable injury distinction

Workers' compensation claims are often difficult to navigate. There are many different things that have to come together when you file for benefits. The type of injury and the way it happened matter when your application is being processed.

One of the most important things in these cases is what type of injury occurred. Workers' compensation will determine if the injury is compensable or not compensable. Here are some important points about this distinction:

Status of the worker

The status of the person's employment might matter in some cases. In Tennessee, employees are all covered by workers' compensation policies. This isn't the case for independent contractors. Workers who aren't sure of their status must first find out how they are classified. There are some instances in which a company might incorrectly classify their workers. Learning about the points that differentiate independent contractors from employees is important.

Circumstances surrounding the injury

Only injuries that happen while you are working are compensable. For the purpose of workers' compensation, it doesn't matter where the injury occurred as long as you were doing your work-related duties. This means that you are covered by workers' compensation even if you are involved in an accident while you are on your way to make a bank deposit for your employer.

It is interesting to note that workers' compensation also covers employees who are injured while attending company events. Even if the event isn't on company grounds, the injury would still be compensable if it occurred during the social function.

There is a chance that injuries that occur during the lunch period might be compensable. If you were doing something during your lunch for work, such as dining with a client, or if the injury happened on company property, there is a chance you might be eligible for benefits.

Cumulative trauma injuries

Not all injuries are the result of an accident. In some cases, workers can suffer from cumulative trauma injuries. These injuries are the result of doing normal job duties. They might be due to a worsening of a condition that is already present. The key point here is the same as with accident-related injuries -- it had to occur while doing something related to your job. Examples of this type of injury include carpal tunnel syndrome, knee strains and lower backaches.

It can be difficult to discern when an injury is compensable. Looking at the full picture could clue you into how the injury might be handled.

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