How to Know if You Qualify for Workers Compensation

How to Know if You Qualify for Workers Compensation
Should someone have been injured or became sick due to their work, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This includes payments for such things as lost wages, medical bills and more. As long as someone qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits, they should receive them. It does not matter who is determined to be at fault for an injury. Sometimes this is challenged by a company. When a person accepts workers’ compensation benefits, they lose their right to file a lawsuit against their employer for damages.

Employers Must Have Workers’ Compensation

Most employers have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. Some don’t have such coverage. In most states, the requirement of an employer to have workers’ compensation coverage is based on the number of employees in the business. It is common to require companies with two to five employees to have this insurance. Some states have different requirements for businesses that are involved in construction, agriculture, certain charities and more. It is common for employers to purchase workers’ compensation even if their state doesn’t require it. Exempt employers in many states may still be part of their state’s workers’ compensation system.

Purchasing Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Companies often purchase workers’ compensation insurance on the private market. It is also possible, in some states, for this insurance to be purchased from a state fund. There are many large employers who self insure. These are companies that take on the financial risk associated with their employees’ claims for workers’ compensation benefits.

Federal Government

There is a special worker’s compensation system provided by the federal government for its workers. Federal employees are covered by that system and not their state’s system. The federal government also has separate rules for providing compensation for railroad workers and maritime workers who have been injured.

Must Be Employee

Not every worker is considered a company’s employee. There are individuals who work as independent contractors like consultants, members of the gig economy as well as freelancers and more. These people are not typically considered eligible to receive worker’s compensation benefits. There are workers who actively challenge their status with a company.

Worker Misclassification

Employers may misclassify someone as an independent contractor, so they don’t have to pay payroll taxes or cover them with their workers’ compensation insurance. Even if someone signed a 1099 tax form, identifying them as an independent contractor, they may still qualify as an employee for workers’ compensation benefits. It is the type of dispute that will end up in court. A court decision will often be based on the amount of control a company has over the worker as well as the details of their working relationship.

An Illness or Injury Must Be Work-Related

In order for a person to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, their injury or illness had to occur at a time when they were doing something to benefit the company. It must be work-related. It could be a worker who becomes ill after exposure to chemicals at a work site or an office worker who develops carpal tunnel syndrome from typing all day and more. It could be a challenge to figure out eligibility if a person becomes ill or injured in certain situations. An injury or illness that occurs during their lunch break, at a social event sponsored by the company or horsing around with other workers and more are situations where eligibility could be challenged.

It’s important to realize if someone becomes ill or is injured while working, there is a good chance they will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. There are also situations where the company may not agree with an employee. They may believe the employee’s illness or injury isn’t covered. A worker can contact an experienced attorney in this situation. These legal professionals will know how to present a worker’s case to obtain the best possible result.

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