Workers' compensation is well-known for providing valuable benefits to hurt workers. However, coverage is not always guaranteed. Some workers fall into unique work categories that may or may not provide benefits after they are hurt or experience an occupational illness. To learn more so that you will know who to turn to when you need help, read on.
Valuable Benefits—For Some
If you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits, what you get depends on your state of residence. However, most states provide the below benefits for hurt workers:
- Medical expenses
- Partial disability salary
- Lump-sum compensation settlement, in some cases.
Not All Jobs Qualify
When it comes to workers' compensation, it's all about the worker-employer relationship. Some workers may not realize what type of relationship they have with their employer and that is unfortunate. When such workers get hurt in a work-related accident, they may have nowhere to turn. Take a look at just a sampling of work situations that may not offer the worker any protection at all when they need it:
Temp Workers – This category of workers works for the temp agency itself and not the place they clock into every day. If you are hurt and your paycheck comes from a temporary agency, then you need to contact them and not the place you work after an injury. It can become confusing when temp workers are hired permanently, so pay attention to who is paying you.
Voluntary Workers – Most volunteer workers don't expect to have any sort of benefit and that is usually true of workers' comp coverage. However, some states do cover certain volunteer workers, such as firefighters and others, with benefits. Contact the human resources office to find out more after an injury.
Contract Workers – More and more people are working on a contract basis and generally, they can expect no workers' comp coverage. However, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a worker is employed by the company or a contract worker in some cases. Taxes are a good indication of your job category. If you signed a W-4 form and receive a tax form from the company each year, you might be an employee. This gray area has been under scrutiny lately, as some companies may owe people more benefits than they end up getting due to questionable employment categories.
If you have been hurt or become sick due to a job, don't spend time worrying about your job category or status. Speak to a workers' compensation lawyer to find out what options are available to you.