When you get injured or ill due to the environment you work in, you are entitled to compensation benefits. You’ll have to meet some federal requirements before you are eligible. Regardless of fault, you are eligible to comp insurance if you meet the requirements.
Here are some of the federal requirements for compensation insurance.
Employer is Covered
It is the most obvious of all the requirements for work comp insurance. As much as all workplaces need workers’ comp insurance cover, not all adhere to these rules. If the employer isn’t covered, there’s no way they can cover the employees.
Despite state laws varying, federal law requires all employers with, even a single employee to have a cover. Some states set a minimum of two or five employees, though.
You are an Employee
There’s a distinction regarding who an employee is with regards to compensation insurance cover. For example, members of the gig economy aren’t all eligible for such benefits in most companies. Freelancers and consultants also sail in the same boat here.
There’s also a case where employers misclassify employees to get out of taking covers that include them. You need to understand the distinction in the category you work under to get compensation. Even volunteers aren’t eligible for the worker’s comp insurance either.
Your work criteria need to fall under the ’employee’ category for eligibility. Ensure you aren’t an independent contractor, freelancer, or other types that disqualifies you from compensation benefits.
Work-related Injury or Illness
Whatever you do for the employer’s benefit that results in an injury or illness should be covered. As long as it benefits the employer, it should be classified as work-related. One of the best examples is that loads of boxes fall on you while moving them in a warehouse is work-related.
Another one is that you get ill due to exposure to harmful material at the workplace. All those were caused as you work for the benefit of the employer.
It may be different to claim when the injury happens during your breaks, etc. That’s an injury that’s isn’t to the employer’s benefit; you aren’t entitled to any compensation.
Report and File on Time
Another requirement that shouldn’t be ignored is reporting and filing before deadlines elapse. Some workers never got compensation due to filing on time, even after meeting every other requirement. Every injury or illness resulting from the workplace needs to be reported on time.
To be on the safe side, you need to ensure you report the incident immediately it happens. If you are in a state where you can’t report or file by yourself, you need to contact a lawyer.
Consult a Lawyer
Lawyers are great when you cannot pursue the claim, but that’s not all they are suitable for. An employer may claim, due to various reasons, that you aren’t eligible for the benefits. As stated above, you may have been listed as an independent contractor, for them to get away with it.
At this point, you may need a workers’ compensation attorney to help you with a claim. The attorney will help you level the field as most insurance companies and employers try to do all in their power to limit their liability.
You may sometimes meet the criteria above and still not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. The state laws in different states may exempt you if you are under these categories.
Agricultural and Farm Workers – most states don’t include these workers in the workers’ comp cover, especially for small farms.
Domestic Workers – housekeepers and other domestic workers in private homes aren’t usually eligible for workers’ comp coverage in many states. Some will only exclude them if they work there part-time.
Casual Workers – even in the states where benefits are exempted in this regard, the work needs not have been part of the employee’s regular profession.
Undocumented workers – a few states try to exclude undocumented workers from comp benefits. But this is still an evolving law as some states allow undocumented workers to have workers’ comp coverage.
Workers’ compensation insurance is one of every employee’s benefits in their workplace. And these are some of the requirements that have to be met by any employee to enjoy the benefits.
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