After an injury takes place at an employee’s place of work, there are some requirements to be met to see if one qualifies for workers’ compensation. Always know that, if you are injured on the job or become ill as a result of your line of work, you may be eligible for compensation-related benefits. So how do you know if you qualify or not?
First of all, consider the place in which you work. A couple of questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Does the person or company I work for carry workers’ compensation insurance?
- Are they legally required to do so given my position?
- Am I an actual employee of that person or company?
- Was my injury or illness actually work-related or resulting from something that happened at work?
- After you’ve asked yourself these questions, take a look at some requirements that could answer if you are eligible or not.
First of all, the employer must be covered by workers’ compensation to qualify. The reasoning behind this? Not all employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Most states don’t set a minimum for how many employees a business must have to carry the insurance but in some states it can be three or more.
Consider this when you are working for a company, because the size could surely be dependent. In addition to this, ask yourself if the company you work for is charitable – if so, some states allow charities to opt out of requiring workers’ compensation. Furthermore, federal government companies will have their own workers’ compensation system aside from the state’s regular system so it is vital to seek help from them.
It is important to note that the vast majority of employers will be required to carry coverage, so if they tell you that they do not have it, speak to an attorney to double-check and look into it.
Secondly, you must actually be an employee of said company. Not all workers will be eligible for these benefits, specifically focusing on independent contractors. They are not actually employees of the company, but instead just do work for them, and are not entitled as a result. This could include freelance writers or computer consultants.
In some cases, volunteers may not count under the system but there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, some states will specifically cover volunteer firefighters and other helpful organizations. Again, it is extremely beneficial to consult with your attorney to know the specifics if you fall under that category.
Lastly, the injury or illness must be work-related for you to qualify. If you were doing something for the benefit of your employer and ended up becoming injured as a result, then in most cases you will be covered. Sometimes an instance is not so clear, as in when you are driving in the company car and become injured on the way to work, or out picking up a sandwich for your boss and fall and hurt your back.
These situations are not as typical and may be more difficult in determining if you are covered, so it is best to speak with someone about the situation and the consultation will give you more answers. (1)
Unfortunately, you may think that you are covered by benefits but are actually not depending on the job you perform. For instance, domestic workers like a housekeeper will generally not be covered. Agricultural and farm workers are usually also exempt from needing coverage, but not every person who works on a farm may be considered as part of this. Leased or loaned workers through agencies may not be covered, and the same goes for some casual or seasonal workers as well. If you are an undocumented worker, you will also not be eligible for compensation benefits. Looking into your state’s specific laws can help you greatly. (1)
The Federal Employment Compensation Act (FECA) can give necessary help to all parties needing information on injuries sustained in a federal environment, as long as they are non-military. They provide the necessary compensation to their employees who qualify.
It is always important to note that if you are not covered by workers’ compensation, you still may be able to file a civil claim against the employer or third party. This is why you must speak to a lawyer today to help you with all of your workers’ compensation needs! (2)