Worker’s compensation, also known as workers compensation, is actually a system that helps to pay medical costs, rehabilitation fees, lost wages, along with other expenses when employees are injured at work.
Every state has its own worker compensation laws which govern the claims from employees of private companies and government agencies that are injured on the job.
In most situations benefits from worker compensation are paid irrespective of who caused the injury, including the business, other workers, clients, and even if it was the injured person himself.
However, if you are injured at work, it is important to bear in mind that workmen’s compensation is usually the only recourse you have for any injuries or illnesses that occur as a result of your job, which means that commonly you can’t decide to sue your employer as opposed to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
So when you are injured, how do you know if you qualify for worker’s compensation payments?
The first requirement is that your job has to have caused your illness or injury.
That means that you were doing something for your employer and became injured or became ill as a result.
Some typical instances include hurting your thumb while handling sharp tools on a job site, or getting hit by something dropping off a shelf in your workplace, or developing breathing issues from breathing dangerous solvents when you are working.
Even if you’re on your lunch break, or commuting, or engaging in recreational activities for your business when you are hurt, your injuries could in some cases qualify as work-related.
In those cases, it’s usually wise to go over your specific circumstances with an attorney or employee representative who has experience with worker compensation law in your state.
Next, you will need to know whether your company has a workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Each state is different, but typically very small employers (three employees or less) may possibly not have to have workman’s compensation coverage.
And in some states, charities can opt out of the workman’s compensation program.
Always check with your human resources department to determine if your employer is insured.
You can also find out much more information about worker’s compensation insurance coverage specifications in your state from your state’s department of labor.
Lastly, it’s essential to figure out if you’re an employee entitled to workers compensation coverage.
Just working for a business and getting paid is not a guarantee that you are qualified to receive workman’s compensation payments.
For example, independent contractors like consultants and freelancers aren’t employees and aren’t entitled to workmen’s compensation benefits.
Common jobs which have been ordinarily considered to be independent contractors include business consultants or freelance reporters.
And volunteering is often a nice thing to do, being a volunteer isn’t the same as being an employee, so commonly volunteers cannot file a claim under the workers compensation system.
But in certain circumstances some kinds of volunteers, like volunteer firefighters, may be covered by workmen’s compensation.
And in some states, employers might have the choice to supply coverage for volunteers, so always check the worker compensation laws in your state or speak with a local attorney who has experience with workman’s compensation claims if there is any question as to whether or not you are eligible.
And even if you are an employee, in some states particular classes of workers are not covered by workmen’s compensation insurance.
Usually these unique circumstances include domestic workers like housekeepers and babysitters, agricultural and farm workers, staff members that are contracted to a business by way of an employment agency or a temp agency, seasonal or casual workers, and undocumented workers.
You ought to generally speak to a worker compensation lawyer or other worker’s compensation specialist about your workers’ compensation rights if any of these exclusion circumstances could apply to you.