Construction worker gets into an accident.

Employees Covered By Workers’ Compensation

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Workers’ compensation provides important benefits to harmed employees, including medical insurance and a percentage of their lost income. State laws on workers’ compensation cover the majority of workers, but there are a few exemptions to this rule.

So, if you’re harmed at work, it’s crucial to know your rights and abide by the proper steps for getting compensation. And, don’t assume that you’re not qualified for benefits according to the statements of your employer alone.

Workers’ Comp is the Sole Remedy for Insured Workers

If you’re insured by workers’ compensation, then you can’t sue your employer for illnesses or injuries caused by the activities you do at work. Instead, your one option is to file a claim on workers’ comp. If the claim is accepted, then you’ll get medical treatment, partial income loss benefits, as well as other monetary assistance.

Construction worker gets into an accident.
Construction worker gets into an accident.

Though such benefits are inadequate, you can get them relatively fast without having to demonstrate that your employer negligently (or deliberately) caused the injuries you sustained. Given that your injury happened at work or was due to work activities, you naturally should get benefits.

If you aren’t insured by workers’ compensation, then you can sue your employer in court with a personal injury case. In a personal injury lawsuit, you could demand a wide range of damages, such as the total value of the lost income and payment for the pain and suffering.

On the other hand, you should show that the actions of the company resulted in your injuries. If your negligence or actions also contributed to your injury, then your compensation could be lowered.

Which Workers Should Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Each state (except Texas) has a mandatory workers’ comp law. The majority of companies should have workers’ comp insurance under such laws unless they’re a non-profit or very small organization. Naturally, a company should have workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees between three and five (though a couple of states require companies with only one employee to have coverage).

In the majority of states, employers can get a certificate from the state in order to self-insure or buy a policy from a company. (Self-insured employers deal with and finance their workers’ claims.) In some states, employers should be insured via a state-managed fund.

worker's compensation
Worker sent to a hospital after an accident.

The majority of state workers’ comp agencies have a site where you can search an online database to check out whether or not your employer has workers’ comp insurance.

Are All Employees Qualified for Workers’ Compensation?

Workers are qualified for workers’ comp if they are workers of an insured employer. Though, not everybody working on a certain job site is a worker. For instance, volunteers and independent contractors work for the employer but aren’t covered by workers’ comp laws. Numerous business consultants and freelance workers are independent contractors.

On the other hand, a few employers incorrectly classify workers as independent contractors. Often employers do this to evade their legal obligations to workers, like paying overtime and offering workers’ compensation insurance. The label your employer offers you isn’t determinative, so do not assume that you are not qualified for workers’ comp just because your employer classifies you as a contractor.

Even though you get a 1099 tax form rather than a W-2, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.