Workers who sustain a work-related injury or illness usually qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits cover the cost of all medical treatment for the injury or illness, as well as a percentage of the wages the worker would normally be earning. These benefits are usually received no matter who was at fault because of the injury. There are some exceptions to that rule, such as if the worker intentionally injured themselves or if they were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
In order to receive benefits, the injured worker must be an employee of the employer, the employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance, and the injury or illness must be work-related. Below are more details for these qualifications.
The Injured Worker Must Be an Employee
Unfortunately, not all injured workers will qualify for workers’ compensation. Workers who are classified as independent contractors do not qualify, so anyone who is working as a consultant or freelancer could not file a claim if they are injured.
Volunteers are also not considered employees so they also cannot file a workers’ compensation claim if they are injured. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as volunteer firefighters. Interns are also able to file for workers’ compensation even if they are not being paid. This is because their schedule and duties are directly controlled by the employer.
The Employer Must Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Each state sets the rules for how the workers’ compensation system will work and what the requirements of employers are. The majority of all employers will likely be required to carry the insurance in each state, but there are exceptions. The requirements depend on the type of business it is and the number of employees it has.
The number of employees can vary from one employee to ten employees. There may be different requirements for the type of company it is. For example, a state may require a construction company to have workers’ compensation insurance even with one employee because of the type of work that is being performed. Some states may waive the requirement for other types of business, such as charities.
Smart business owners make the decision to purchase the insurance even if they are not required to by the state. Some companies purchase private insurance, while other companies are self-insured.
The Injury or Illness Is Work-Related
If a worker was performing a task that would benefit the employer when the injury occurred, it is typically considered a work-related injury, even if the task was outside the worker’s usual job duties. Injuries that occur during the worker’s usual duties, such as a warehouse worker sustaining a back injury while unloading a delivery truck, is usually an easier claim to deal with than one where the employee was injured outside their regular duties, such as running an errand for the employer. Injuries that occur during lunch breaks or company-sponsored events can also get tricky.
A workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate your case and determine if you qualify benefits. In the event that you need to speak to an attorney, do not hesitate to contact an attorney, like a workers compensation attorney relies on, to ensure your case is receiving proper attention.