When Are You Not Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018 was the first year on record since 2012 that the work-related incident rate did not decline. To be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim, you must be able to establish that you’re an employee rather than an independent contractor, and you have to prove that you hurt yourself while performing your normal work-related duties. With that said, you should take the time to know the cases where your eligibility for workers’ compensation might be brought into question.
Simple and Minor Injuries
Any injury that can be patched up with a first-aid kit does not warrant filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you get cut, scraped, or wounded or you suffer from a single headache while being on the job, you probably will not get workers’ compensation benefits.
Some Employees Are Not Eligible
Even though most workers are entitled to workers’ compensation, there are two exceptions: crew members working on vessels and interstate railroad workers. In either of these cases, if an employee gets injured, their only recourse according to federal law is to sue their employer, in which case it might be a good idea to reach out to a Somerset County job injury lawyer.
Independent Contractors Are Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation
As stated earlier, one of the main tenets of being eligible for workers’ compensation is being able to establish that you are an employee and not a private contractor. That being said, the line between the two can often be blurry. Both employers and insurance companies may try to fight a claim based on how murky the dividing line can get.
So, what are the main differences between an employee and a contractor? The biggest and most important difference is that an employee has to work under their employer’s direction and control. This means that an employer has the right to dictate how an employee should perform every task they work on.
On the other hand, a contractor has much more freedom in how they work so long as they get the job done. Another difference is that an employee utilizes the employer’s tools while a contractor usually has their own tools. Moreover, an employee enjoys a long-term position with their employer and is compensated for the work they do over a specific period of time. A contractor is usually hired on a per-job basis and is compensated for the completion of said job regardless of the amount of time it took them to complete it.
Injuries During a Commute Are Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation
Even though employees are entitled to compensation for any injury sustained while on the job, the law does not consider the commute to and from work as being “on the job.” It is only when you arrive at your employer’s premises that your employer becomes liable for your health.
The exception to this is if you are running an errand for your employer. For example, let us say that on your way to your work, your employer asked you to stop by the post office to pick up something. As you were making your way from the post office to your job, you got injured in a car accident. In this case, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Injuries Sustained on the Employer’s Premises But Outside of Work Hours Are Not Covered
If you show up at your employer’s premises even though you are not scheduled to work, such as when you decide to pay your work colleagues a social visit, you will not be covered by your employer’s insurance should you get injured. The only exception to this is when your employer is aware and consents to you being there after hours.
Getting Help When You Need It the Most
Obviously, there are a few more cases where you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation. Alternatively, even the above cases are filled with nuances that are not always black and white. Therefore, if you have been injured and would like to know whether you qualify for compensation, do not hesitate to contact a Somerset County job injury lawyer. You can reach the Voorhees Law Office at (908) 200-2297 for a free consultation. Even better, you can visit our offices at 68 North Bridge Street in Somerville, New Jersey.