What is Workers’ Compensation and Who Does It Cover?
Sadly, injuries at work occur very frequently. Sometimes a worker may get injured because of a co-worker’s or their own negligence, sometimes they may experience an accident and sometimes the injury may occur after years of bad posture, heavy lifting or other repetitive actions.
Fortunately, the Workers’ compensation program is meant to soften the blow, first and foremost financially. It is a state-mandated insurance program that compensates employees who suffered a work-related disease or injury.
The workers are paid for both the medical bills and the lost wages during their recovery. The workers are covered by this type of insurance even if the accident that led to the injury was their fault.
However, there are still a few requirements you have to meet to be eligible for workers’ compensation. The first one is that the employer provides workers’ compensation insurance through an insurance company. In some states, this is mandatory, while in others it’s optional.
Second, the worker needs to be able to prove that the injury did occur at work or as a direct result of their job duties. Read on to learn if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Does the Employer Offer Workers’ Compensation?
As previously mentioned, employers in some states are obligated to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their workers, while in others they are not. Their choice usually depends on the type of business and the risks involved, as well as the number of workers. Some companies are exempt from having obligatory workers’ compensation insurance. One such example is charities. Similarly, some employers with no obligation to provide workers’ compensation still choose to get the insurance for their own protection.
What Type of Employment Do You Have
Not all employees are treated the same when it comes to determining whether you are eligible for workers’ comp. Volunteers, freelancers or independent contractors are not covered as they are technically not considered employees. Again, some exceptions do exist, for example, firefighters.
Did You Get Injured in the Line of Duty?
In most cases, you are eligible for workers’ compensation if you can prove you got your injuries in the line of duty. In other words, if something you were doing to benefit the employer caused you to get injured or become sick, you are eligible for workers’ comp. These include hurting your back while lifting a heavy object or getting carpal tunnel syndrome from working at the computer.
The injury doesn’t necessarily have to occur in the workplace either. If you were out on a supply run with the company car and were involved in an accident, you will also be eligible for workers’ compensation. Needless to say, sometimes this can be difficult to prove. If for example you were running an errand but stopped to finish some personal business and got injured then. If the lines are unclear, you should consider hiring an experienced workplace injury attorney.
Does it Matter If I’m Responsible
Whether you lifted a heavy box in a bad way or caused a traffic accident in the company car, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation, no matter whose fault the accident that caused the injury was. However, if you got the injury while under the effects of drugs or alcohol or if you deliberately harmed yourself, you will not be covered. The same goes for fights that break out between colleagues.