Obesity is considered an epidemic that continues to plague the United States workforce. While it can have a variety of different health effects on workers throughout their lifetime, including heart attacks, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also have an effect on worker’s compensation. As obesity can have a significant effect on the many different injuries, some insurance claims adjusters may try to use obesity as an excuse to get out of paying workers the full amount they deserve for their injuries.
Obesity’s Effect on Injuries
When you are overweight, it puts an incredibly strain on your body. While it can lead to health conditions later down the line, the real worry is that it puts you at more risk for injuries in the workplace.
One of the most common examples comes from the same strain that weight puts on the body. Those who are overweight have a much higher chance of suffering from back or neck strain, and when those areas are strained, they are more easily injured. The problem is that while your work conditions likely contributed to those types of injuries, if you are overweight, the insurance company can argue that it didn’t fully happen on the job, but rather was a symptom of your lifestyle.
Alongside arguing that an injury wasn’t actually a workplace injury for those who are overweight, the reality is that those overweight will also have a longer healing process from those injuries. This means you may be kept from work longer as well as have to collect benefits longer. Even if you are still legitimately healing, when you are overweight, you run the increase risk of benefits being cut off early until the worker’s compensation law catches up with the epidemic.
Your Rights as an Employee
If you are overweight, you still have the same rights as an employee as everyone else. While obesity has lead to a huge rise in expenses for the worker’s compensation system, neither the insurance company nor their employer can deny an injured employee worker’s compensation benefits. Even if their weight contributed to the injury, if the injury happened at work or even contributed to a legitimate injury, you can still receive worker’s compensation for it.
It is also worth noting that if you are injured and your weight will interfere with treatment and surgeries needed, the worker’s compensation system can also cover any weight loss surgery that is needed to fully treat the injury. Unfortunately, there is still very little knowledge about an overweight worker’s rights in terms of worker’s compensation, and this opens the way up for claims adjusters to try to keep costs low by unfairly denying treatments that are required for a workplace injury based on a person’s weight.
If you are overweight and have been injured at work, it is more important than ever that you have a skilled worker’s compensation attorney at your side. Obesity is one of the top rising costs to the worker’s compensation system and they will try to cut costs wherever possible. When a claims adjuster sits down with you and sees that a lawyer is not with you to make sure you get your fair amount of coverage, it opens up the way for them to unfairly deny the funds that you need to heal and get back to work.
If you are in the St. Paul area and need a worker’s compensation lawyer to represent your interests as an injured worker no matter what body type you have, contact us today. The Law Office of Joshua Borken is dedicated to making sure every single one of Minnesota’s injured workers gets the coverage for their injuries that they are entitled to.