Getting hurt on the job can be a highly confusing and stressful affair as there generally are hefty medical bills that you have to pay and you could be facing weeks or even months off from work. People might even have a problem keeping a roof over their heads in such a situation. Therefore it is important to know what is and is not covered under workers’ compensation claims along with understanding who qualifies as a full-time employee and who is an independent contractor. In most states worker’s compensation coverage covers most of the injuries for full-time employees. This means that if a worker is injured during their work at a job, the injury is covered by worker’s compensation laws which require the employer to give workers’ compensation coverage to all full-time employees.
Worker’s Compensation Coverage
The workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system throughout the country which means that it is irrelevant if someone is found partially responsible for their injury. Carelessness on the part of the injured worker does not prevent them from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation pays an injured worker even if they have a pre-existing condition such as an aching back that gets aggravated in a work related injury. Certain jobs which require heavy lifting can generally aggravate existing back conditions and are typically covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Coverage is offered in a worker’s compensation claim for any medical treatments, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits if applicable.
Lost wage benefits can be one of four types:
- Temporary total disability;
- Temporary partial disability;
- Permanent total disability;
- Permanent partial disability.
The amount that an injured worker is entitled to receive is based upon their wages before they got injured. A normal amount of wage loss damages is 2/3rd of pre-injury wages. Wage loss damages in a worker’s compensation claim are non-taxable, i.e. the injured worker does not have to pay any taxes on that amount.
Things Excluded From Worker’s Compensation Coverage
Although many injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, it should be kept in mind that it does not pay up in every case. Some types of injuries are not covered such as an injury that was sustained because the worker was drunk or intoxicated. Similarly, if the injury was self-inflicted or due a fight, it would not be covered. Nor would any injury be covered if it occurred in violation of company policy. Workers’ compensation may cover injuries that occurred outside the workplace, however they must have happened in the scope of employment. Any injury occurring outside the scope of your employment is not covered under worker’s comp coverage. Independent contractors or self-employed workers are ineligible for workers’ compensation as employers are excused by state law to have coverage for these categories of workers. However, employers generally attempt to misclassify full-time workers as independent contractors to avoid having to pay certain taxes and workers’ compensation premiums.
Employers will sometimes claim that an injured worker is not a full-time employee in order to avoid paying out worker’s compensation. If you are a full-time worker who has been injured on the job and your employer denies your full time status and claims that you are a contractor and therefore not entitled to any benefits, it is imperative that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to safeguard your rights and get the benefits that you deserve.