Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

If you’ve been hurt while on the job, you may understandably be worried about paying for your medical costs and lost wages, even if you’re only taking medical leave from work for a few days. If so, know that you almost certainly have legal options available to you. Except for truly exceptional circumstances, such as an accident intentionally set-up by a worker hoping to receive compensation for the harm caused by the accident, workers hurt on the job are generally either eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits or are able to file a personal injury lawsuit related to the harm they have been impacted by. In rare cases, a worker may be able to pursue both kinds of compensation.

General Rules and Potential Exceptions

Most full-time and part-time employees (save for those who work in highly specialized industries, such as the railroad industry and the maritime industry) are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the even that they are hurt while on the job. The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. As a result, eligible employees are permitted to receive benefits even if they were partially or totally at-fault for the injuries in question. Notable exceptions to this rule include accidents intentionally created by the injured worker, harm resulting from altercations started by the injured worker, and harm resulting from accidents that occurred while the injured worker was high or otherwise intoxicated.

However, not all workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, even if they don’t work in highly specialized industries. If an employee works for a company that only employs a handful of workers, that employer may benefit from a workers’ compensation coverage exception. In such cases, filing a personal injury suit or allowing an attorney to negotiate with the employer’s general insurance carrier may be more appropriate. Additionally, independent contractors are generally ineligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits unless they have been intentionally or unintentionally misclassified as independent contractors and actually function as employees. If you’re an independent contractor and are unsure of whether you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits due to a classification error, please meet with our firm so that we can clarify your options.

It’s important to note that workers’ compensation benefits can be filed by remote workers and workers who are traveling for their jobs, provided that they were engaged in job duties at the time that their harm occurred. This area of workers’ compensation law can get tricky, so it’s important to connect with a lawyer if you have suffered a work-related injury in a relatively unconventional location so that your claim isn’t denied or undervalued due to its unique nature.

Legal Assistance Is Available

All injured workers deserve to understand their legal options and to take advantage of those options when they have been harmed while on the job. If you have questions about a workers’ compensation case, contact an attorney, like the workers’ compensation attorneys at the office of Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, PC. They can answer your questions and help you know the best way to move forward.