When are you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?

By Albert Howard

Are you someone who suddenly fell ill or you were hurt while working on your office premises? If yes, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits that consist of payments for lost wages and hefty medical costs. Irrespective of who was the at-fault party, you can receive the compensation benefits. 

In lieu of this protection, you no longer have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault employer for damages caused. If you’re not aware of when to become eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, here are a few points shared by The Law Offices of Gallner and Pattermann, PC, that you should keep in mind. 

Eligibility Requirements for Workers’ Compensation

Generally, there are four eligibility requirements for workers’ comp benefits. Let’s take a look at them:

  • You have to be an employee of the company
  • You should have a work-related illness or injury
  • Your employer should carry a work-related illness or injury
  • You should meet the deadlines of the state for reporting the damage caused and filing a workers’ comp claim

There are varied rules for a few sections of employees, that include farm and agricultural workers, domestic workers, seasonal or casual workers, and workers placed with temporary agencies. 

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You should be an employee to qualify for Workers’ comp

You have to remember that all workers are not employees as long as eligibility for workers’ compensation is concerned. There are independent contractors like consultants, freelancers, and members of the ‘gig’ economy who don’t fall under workers’ comp benefits. 

There are employers who have often misrepresented workers and termed them as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes or premiums for them. However, the fact is a bit different from reality. Even though you signed a 1099 tax form being an independent contractor, you can still be eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits. 

Though these rules vary from one state to another, the courts will only take into account the amount of control you have over your work and other information on the relationship shared between you and the company or the person that appointed you. 

The illness or injury should be work-related

In case you were doing a job that was being done for the benefit of the employer and you got injured during the course of time, the injury is considered work-related. Suppose you were loading or unloading boxes in your company warehouse and you hurt your back, this is definitely a workplace injury. If you were exposed to dangerous chemicals during work, this too is termed as a workplace injury. 

However, such issues are more difficult to be proved in other situations like when the injury occurred during the lunch break or a social event sponsored by the company. 

If your company claims that you’re eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits, you should choose to hire a lawyer. His professional expertise and legal experience will help you obtain the compensation that you’re entitled to. The attorney will do his best to protect your rights as an employee. 

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