If you' re injured on the job or suffer a work-related illness or disease that prevents you from working, you're by law eligible to receive benefits from your state workers' compensation program. Under a workers' compensation program, you're entitled to replacement income, free medical care, and sometimes vocational rehabilitation benefits like on-the-job training, schooling, or job placement assistance. If your disability is classified as permanent or results in death, additional benefits may also be available to you and your family. Keep in mind that the workers' compensation law is designed to give you benefits, regardless of whether you're injured by your own or your employer's negligence. Furthermore, your injury doesn't need to be caused by an accident. You can receive compensation for repetitive stress injuries caused by overuse or misuse over a long period of time, including carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems. You may also be compensated for some illnesses and diseases that are the gradual result of work conditions, such as heart conditions and lung disease. There are some limits to the law, however. Generally, injuries caused by an employee who's intoxicated or using illegal drugs are not covered by workers' compensation. Coverage may also be denied in situations involving self-inflicted injuries or injuries suffered while a worker was committing a serious crime. In addition, every state excludes some workers from being eligible for workers' compensation coverage.
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