If you were injured while on the job, you could potentially file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are meant to provide employees peace of mind since they cover any lost wages and medical bills for injuries received while at work. Workers’ compensation also allows employees to receive the benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, in return for monetary coverage, employees lose the right to file personal injury claims against the employer.
In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must meet four simple requirements:
1. You Must Be An Employee.
While this sounds like a straightforward requirement, “employee” has become a more difficult term to define in a workforce that is slowly shifting in non-traditional careers. Currently, over 57 million Americans are freelancers, working as their own boss with their own specified hours. Because they work for themselves, both freelancers and consultants are considered “independent contractors” instead of employees. Even when a freelancer is hired by a corporation or company, they are still classified as an independent contractors and would not be eligible for workers’ compensation if injured on the job. If a freelancer or consultant is injured while working, they should use arbitration to file any personal injury claims.
2. Your Employer Must Offer Workers’ Compensation.
Most employers are legally required to provide their employees with workers’ compensation benefits. However, each state is able to specify which businesses are required to provider workers’ compensation. In some states, only businesses with more than three employees are eligible to carry workers’ compensation, while in other states, the business must have more than one employee. However, most businesses will want to provide their employees with workers’ compensation since it protects them from potential lawsuits.
3. You Must Have a Work-Related Illness or Injury.
In order to be eligible for the workers’ compensation benefits, you must receive the injury while on the job. To be considered as “work-related,” there must be a clearly drawn relationship between the employer and injury received. For example, you would be eligible for workers’ compensation if you broke your arm while carrying inventory at your retail job. You would not; however, be eligible for workers’ compensation if you broke your arm while headed home from the same retail job.
4. You Must Meet Your States’ Deadline to File a Claim
Even if you meet the other three requirements, you could lose your right to workers’ compensation if you miss the filing deadline. This time limit differs by state. For example, Wisconsin gives the injured party up to six years to file a claim. However, most other states require that a claim be filed less than three years after the injury occurred.
If you were injured while on the job, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer claims you are not eligible for these benefits, you should consult a workers’ comp lawyer in Long Island who can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Thanks to Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and eligibility for benefits.