A work-related injury promises to prevent you from working for several weeks. With this development, you wonder whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Your eligibility primarily comes down to employment status and whether your injury was work-related. As long as you are a full- or part-time employee who receives benefits, you qualify for workers’ compensation if your injury stemmed from the work you do.
Contract workers are ineligible
Your employer should have workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees. Those benefits are primarily for medical expenses and lost wages. Typically, you will receive the equivalent of 66.6% of your average weekly wage.
Scenarios in which workers are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Contract workers: Gig workers usually are independent contractors who do not receive workplace benefits, including workers’ compensation. But if your employer is a staffing agency and subcontracts you to another company, your employer is responsible for providing you with workers’ compensation coverage.
- Your injury did not occur at work or during work-related duties: Remember, this has to be an injury while performing work-related duties, not something that happened at a weekend family get-together. However, exceptions include off-site injuries that occur while performing your job duties as well as occupational diseases that have links to your working conditions.
- Horseplay: If your injury occurred because you were goofing off with another worker on site, then you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Drug or alcohol impairment: Substance abuse may rear its ugly head in the workplace. And if you sustain an injury because you were high or drunk, then your employer’s insurer will deny benefits.
Besides independent contractors, other workers who do not typically qualify for workers’ compensation benefits include undocumented workers, seasonal workers, domestic workers and agriculture workers.
Know your status
Employers are responsible for the safety of their workers as well as purchasing workers’ compensation insurance to cover them in case they get hurt on the job. Make sure you know your status when it comes to eligibility for these much-needed benefits.