Did you know that work-related injuries or illnesses are covered by workers compensation? People often think of getting hurt on the job – from a fall, or a piece of machinery. But people also get sick from their job as well.
If you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits, you will have to show that your injury or illness is work-related. If you were doing something to benefit your employer, and were injured or became ill as a result, then your injury or illness is indeed work-related and you can receive benefits as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
Eligible employees receive compensation for lost work and medical bills, regardless of who was at fault. In exchange, employees forfeit the right to sue their employers for the illness or injury, UNLESS you were injured by a defective product and might be able to bring a products liability action again the manufacturer of the product.
If you were made ill by a toxic substance, you might be able to bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of that substance.
If you were injured because of your employer’s intentional or egregious conduct, you might be able to sue your employer in civil court or collect money from a state fund.
If a third party caused your injury, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person.
Typically, there are three basic eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation benefits:
The person or company you were working for must carry workers compensation insurance or be legally required to do so.
You must be an employee of that person or company and your injury or illness must be work-related.
However, not all employers are required to have workers’ compensation coverage. State laws vary, but an employer’s responsible to provide coverage usually depends on how many employees it has, what type of business it is, and what type of work the employees are doing.
A few states require only employers with at least three employees to be covered, but most states do set a minimum. The vast majority of employers are required to carry coverage. You might want to check with an attorney, if your employer claims not to be covered by your state workers’ compensation statute. An experienced workers compensation attorney can explain all the different types of workers’ comp claims.
In addition, there are some special rules for domestic workers, agricultural and farm workers, casual seasonal workers, and undocumented workers. For example, a horse trainer is not considered a farm worker when it comes to eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, when you have any doubts, it would be prudent to discuss any problem, with an attorney.
Usually, volunteers are not employees and so they are not entitled to workers’ comp benefits. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some states cover volunteer fire fighters and some states give organizations the option of covering their volunteers.
A domestic worker is someone who works in a home, such as a housekeeper or babysitter. Some states don’t require employers to cover these type of workers.
When it comes to leased or loaned workers who came to an employer through an agency (temp agency), states differ on which company has to provide workers’ compensation coverage for you. Your workers comp attorney will know your state’s requirements.
Here are some grey areas in workers compensation coverage: Injury on a lunch break, while picking up a sandwich for your boss, or injury while commuting to work in the company car, walking to an off-site social event with coworkers, or playing softball at the company picnic.
Some workers compensation cases are cut and dry, while others are murky and challenging. Your Oklahoma City workers compensation lawyers are here to answer your questions.