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Do You Know If You’re Eligible to Receive Workers’ Compensation?

September 27, 2016

How do you know if you’re eligible to receive workers’ compensation after sustaining an injury at work? If you fall sick as a direct result of your job, what benefits are you entitled to – if any? While you may qualify for compensation for medical bills and loss of income, it can be tricky to figure out if you meet the basic eligibility requirements. Here are a few easy ways to determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation as you consider seeking legal counsel.

Are you an employee?

It sounds obvious, sure, but not all workers are technically employees – at least when determining workers’ compensation eligibility. Take contractors, for example: A freelance graphic designer who is brought in for a specific job or jobs does not qualify for benefits should they get sick while working – even if it’s on site. An independent contractor does not equal an employee. That being said, it’s not uncommon for employers to incorrectly classify their employees as independent contractors and subsequently withhold benefits.

Then, there are volunteers. This one may seem obvious, too, but there are some instances in which the state gives an organization the option of providing coverage to their volunteers.

Does your employer have workers’ compensation?

This is a big one: Not all employers are required to have workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Usually the number of employees, the line of work, and the actual labor the employees are performing determine whether or not an employer is responsible for having workers’ compensation, but it can vary from state to state. However, on the whole, most employers across the county are required to provide coverage for their employees. And this comes by way of either purchasing insurance, or by self-insuring.

For federal employees, the compensation system set in place by the government determines your eligibility – not necessarily the state.

Was your injury or illness actually work-related?

If you’re an employee and your employer does provide workers’ compensation, the final step in determining if you’re eligible is if you were injured, or took ill, while performing your job. This one is by no means a no-brainer, and may actually be the trickiest. For example, what if you were injured in the company car while running an errand for your supervisor? What if you get sick at a gala hosted by your boss, after hours?

If your injury or illness is not as obviously a direct result of performing your job, you may want to seek legal counsel. Generally speaking, if you were hurt on the job, and you’re an employee and your employer provides coverage, you’re eligible to receive workers’ compensation.

Never rule out your eligibility if your situation is unique and doesn’t hit all three requirements listed above. Seek legal counsel. Don’t pass up the opportunity to receive help and compensation if you’re entitled to it.

Give us a call at The Law Offices of William F. Underwood, III, P.C., and we’ll get you the help you need.

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