The word “injury” is very broad. It includes everything from sudden injuries like broken limbs or pulled muscles to injuries that take a long time to surface, like asbestosis (from repeated exposure to asbestos) or repetitive stress conditions (from typing too much).
Here are some examples of injuries that qualify and injuries that don’t:
If you are working on a construction site and a coworker accidentally breaks your arm with a 2 x 4, this is obviously an on-the-job injury, and it’s covered.
If you are delivering packages and you get in a traffic accident, any injury you sustain should be covered.
If you are delivering packages, but you take a three-hour break from work to go and visit your grandma and take her shopping in your employer’s van – and then become involved in a traffic accident – you probably will not be covered by worker’s compensation, because the accident did not occur within the scope of your employment.
If you take a break from your job every hour to smoke a cigarette and this causes you to develop cancer after many years, you won’t get workers’ compensation to cover your cancer treatment, because this “injury” had nothing to do with work – your smoking time was your own.
If your boss yells at you every day and your job is so stressful that you need to get treatment and miss work, your stress could be covered by workers’ compensation – unless other problems in your life are the main cause of your stress.
Are emotional injuries covered?
Yes. An injury doesn’t have to be physical – it can be emotional. But it can be difficult to prove that you have stress because of your job. And making a stress claim might cause your employer to examine your psychological records. If you have further questions, consult with an employment lawyer in your area.