For those injured in the workplace, workers' comp insurance can help save the day. This coverage is extended to nearly all workers, free of charge, and helps with partial wages and the related medical bills. In most cases, workers who accept these benefits are also giving up their rights to sue the employer, but there are some exceptions to that rule. While nearly all states require that employers offer this coverage, not all workers can benefit from it. To learn more about whether or not you may be eligible for those benefits, read on.
You must be an employee of the company.
While this issue may seem obvious to some, it can be more confusing in certain circumstances. For example, a worker who comes to the workplace everyday and performs the same work alongside other employees is not eligible for benefits if that person is not actually employed by the company. Contractors are a good example of this situation. Many companies outsource some of their labor, such as with temporary workers, day laborers or other forms of contracting work. In the instance of the above example, the contract company would be responsible for extending coverage to that worker.
Independent contractors are another category of worker, and the line between contractor and employee is not always well-drawn. Free-lance writers, web designers, marketing consultants and other workers are not covered under a traditional workers' comp plan. Unfortunately, it has become common for employers to purposely misclassify these types of workers to keep from having to offer them not only workers' comp insurance, but other benefits, like health insurance. If you are an independent contractor and have been hurt in a work-related accident, you may need to contact a workers' comp attorney to seek benefits.
If you are volunteering in a workplace, you will not be covered with workers' comp under normal circumstances. In most instances, volunteer fire fighters are covered, but this can vary by state.
Other categories of workers who may not have coverage.
- Domestic workers are not always covered. This category includes workers employed directly by a homeowner to work in that home. For those who work for cleaning or maid service companies, you will likely have coverage.
- Farm workers do not generally qualify for workers' comp coverage, but that does not mean that anyone who works on a farm is classified as a farm worker. Be sure to check with your state board for the definition of farm worker.
- Seasonal workers are not usually eligible for this coverage. These are workers who work for only a few months or a certain season of the year.
- Undocumented workers coverage can vary greatly depending on the state. In states like Florida and California, they are afforded the same rights as U.S. citizens when it comes
If you have been told that you are not eligible for workers' comp benefits, don't give up. Talk to a workers compensation lawyer for more help and support right away.