Every day millions of people go to work without considering the risks to their health and wellbeing. While many workers might have private insurance, there is a large majority with an automatic policy called worker’s compensation. Unfortunately, to qualify for worker’s compensation there are at least four qualifications you and your employer must meet. Each qualification sounds simple enough, but if you or your employer make one mistake it can lead to significant legal and financial consequences.
1. Employment Status
To be eligible for worker’s compensation, you must be an employee. While that sounds obvious, the gig economy has created a surplus of contracted workers and not legitimate employees. As a contracted employee, you technically own your own business or operate independently, meaning the company you work for does not have any legal responsibility to you or your health; they can terminate services when they see fit. If you want to make sure that you qualify for worker’s compensation, make sure that you are defined as an employee and nothing else.
2. Employer’s Status
Most state laws require the majority of employers to carry worker’s compensation coverage. Unfortunately, the regulations do not pertain to every business or every state. In some instances, the company you work for can opt-out of such insurance policies because of their status as a nonprofit. Other businesses, like construction companies, often have a different set of laws they must abide by. Just keep in mind that before accepting a position with a company, check if they carry worker’s compensation coverage.
3. Work-Related Injury or Illness
Many people often confuse their worker’s compensation policy. The insurance does not cover every injury or illness; you need private insurance for that. Instead, worker’s compensation is only for workplace injuries or illnesses. Therefore, if you are feeling under-the-weather because of the seasonal flu, you are not covered, but if you get sick because you were exposed to some chemical in the workplace, you are.
4. Filing Deadlines
Beyond employment and employer status, the government has requirements for any employee filing a claim. Every claim must be reported within the approved timeline for such disclosures. If an employee fails to meet the reporting deadline, the worker’s compensation policy will not cover the claim.
Worker’s compensation policies are not easy to understand. If you think that you are eligible to file a claim but are unfamiliar with the process, consider contacting a Newark workers compensation attorney for help from a firm like Rispoli & Borneo, PC, who are experienced with this specific area of insurance law.