Are All Disabilities Covered By Workers' Compensation?

Posted By Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman || 1-May-2019

Some people have a misunderstanding about workers’ compensation benefits; they assume that like Social Security Disability (SSDI), workers’ compensation covers many types of disabilities, but that is not the case. Workers’ compensation does not cover all injuries, illnesses, and disabilities suffered by a worker.

So, which disabilities are covered by workers’ compensation and how are the covered disabilities distinguished from the uncovered ones? For a disability to be covered by workers’ compensation, it must have been caused by a work-related accident, or it must be an occupational disease that arose out of employment.

Covered vs. Not Covered Disabilities

To better illustrate covered vs. uncovered disabilities, here are some examples:

Covered Disabilities

  • A data entry employee suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome after typing 8 hours a day, every day at her job.
  • A baker is diagnosed with baker’s lung after working with flour every day for 10 years.
  • A construction worker loses his hearing in the right ear after operating loud drills for his job in construction.
  • A factory worker cuts his finger off while operating machinery.
  • A warehouse worker suffers a traumatic brain injury after 300 pounds of merchandise falls from a shelf in the warehouse, hitting his head.
  • A veterinary technician is attacked by a vicious dog, suffering permanent scarring and disfigurement on her face.
  • A salesman is injured in a car accident while driving to see a client.

Disabilities Not Covered

  • A salesman breaks his leg in a car accident that occurs on the weekend, not during work hours.
  • A receptionist is diagnosed with lung cancer (not work-related).
  • A vet tech is bitten by a dog while taking a stroll near her home.
  • A man is assaulted outside a grocery store after shopping for food.
  • A factory worker cuts his finger off at home while working in his woodshop.
  • A bartender is punched at a different bar while hanging out with friends.
  • A police officer is carjacked on his day off.
  • An off-duty fireman suffers from smoke inhalation while saving his neighbors from a residential fire.

Essentially, for a disability to be covered by workers’ compensation, it must be directly related to the worker’s job. It must have occurred in a work-related accident or the disease must have been caused by the person’s employment.

To file a workers’ compensation claim in Queens, contact Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman!