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Can workers’ comp be denied if boss said I broke a work rule?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

One of the best things about being employed in Pennsylvania is that you can usually count on workers’ compensation to be there for you if you are ever injured on the job. However, there are cases in which your employer will deny that financial safety net, citing misuse of company property or a violation of the rules. So a question arises: can an employer deny your workers’ comp if it claims that you broke the rules? Read on to learn further about this issue.

Violation leads to injury

It can be very difficult for an employee to prove that his or her injures were caused by an incident that was out of his or her hands, especially if those injuries occurred due to violating a company rule. In the Minnesota case of Smith v. Metro Transit, a bus driver working for Metro Transit was injured after violating the rule of leaving the driver’s seat. Since the violation was clear, the bus driver was denied workers’ comp. In Pennsylvania, the violation of a positive work rule is an affirmative defense in which the employer must establish three criteria: (1) the injury was, in fact, caused by the violation of the order or rule, (2) the employee actually knew of the order or rule, and (3) the order or rule implicated an activity not connected with the employee’s work duties.

Can you still obtain workers’ comp?

According to most state laws, an employee may collect workers’ compensation even if he or she violated the workplace rules. However, this only applies to those who made a mistake and got injured. If you purposely entered into a dangerous situation to obtain workers’ compensation, outside of your regular job duties, then your claim would likely be denied by the courts. In addition, purposely getting yourself into such a situation may lead to hefty fines and even prison time.

If you are injured on the job and are now being denied compensation due to accusations of breaking the rules, hiring an attorney is a must. These cases are very fact-specific and require careful analysis by an expert.  A certified specialist workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to present your case in the best light, so you will have the greatest opportunity to obtain the financial help you need to live your life after a work injury.