The short answer to this question is yes––if you have sustained a job-related injury, you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. All states and the federal government have workers’ compensation laws that require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance and that enables injured workers to be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and any permanent disabilities they suffer due to a work-related injury or illness.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault insurance program which provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illness. It pays for necessary and reasonable medical treatment, and provides temporary disability benefits to compensate for lost wages, and when documented, benefits for any permanent disability that results from your injury or illness.
State laws require almost every employer to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, meaning that just about every employee, whether they are a temporary or permanent worker, working full or part-time, been on the job ten years or ten minutes, is eligible for workers’ compensation.
Employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees in exchange for protection from any additional liability for work-related injuries or illnesses suffered by their employees.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must be working under a clear employee-employer relationship. With very few exceptions, workers’ compensation insurance does not cover workers where a clear employee-employer relationship does not exist, such as interns, volunteer workers, and independent contractors.
Employees are sometimes misclassified as independent contractors by their employers when they are rightly working under an employee-employer relationship. When this happens, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits that you are rightly entitled to receive. If you suspect this in your case, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you appeal the denial of your benefits.
What Injuries are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
If you sustain a job-related injury, or if you contract a job-related illness, or have a preexisting condition that is made worse because of your job, you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
For example, if you break a leg, sprain an ankle, or suffer a head injury in a job-related accident, you will be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Similarly, if you become ill or develop a medical condition, such as mesothelioma, carpal tunnel syndrome, or persistent back pain as a result of years of performing your job duties, or if you suffer from a pre-existing condition such as asthma, which is exacerbated by your job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits
In all cases, however, the injury or illness must be job-related. In other words, it must have arisen during the course of performing your duties under an employee-employer relationship.
So, for example, if you were injured in a car accident while out making deliveries for your employer, this would qualify as a job-related injury and be covered under workers’ compensation.
On the other hand, if you were injured in a car accident while running personal errands on your lunch break, the injury may not qualify for worker’s compensation benefits, unless running these errands somehow benefited your employer as well.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits may be provided on a temporary or permanent basis. In order to qualify to receive temporary disability benefits under workers’ compensation, you must be unable to work for more than 7 days.
For permanent disability benefits under workers’ compensation, you will need to be evaluated by a physician, who will then determine (as a percentage of disability) the nature and extent of your inability to meet your occupational, social, and personal needs. Once this is established, you may be eligible to receive benefits on a permanent basis that will adequately compensate you for any resulting permanent limitations to your ability to perform your job, gain new employment, and/or earn a living.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ compensation law can be complex. Consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is the best thing you can do to ensure that you receive all of the benefits you are entitled under your state’s workers’ compensation law.
For more information, visit Workers’ Compensation » We are committed to helping injured workers recover both physically and financially from job-related injuries and illnesses.