Getting hurt on the job is always a possibility when you are working in a demanding environment that has hazards around every corner. Some of us are able to get through our working life without having a major incident. However, many of us will fall victim to our workplace at least once during our tenure there. If you get hurt at hurt at work, you may be entitled to compensation benefits that will help you to defray or completely eliminate the cost of your injuries. Here are three questions that you will have to ask in order to determine if you are eligible for these benefits.
Does Your Employer Carry the Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
It could be possible that you live in a state and work at a company small enough that your employer may not be legally obligated to carry coverage for workers’ comp. In many states, a company with three or more employees will have to carry the coverage. Most states, however, require companies to carry the coverage if they have only one employee, so chances are that you are probably covered.
Even if your employer is not legally obligated to cover the insurance, they will probably carry it anyway to avoid possible lawsuits or legal battles if one of their employees gets injured on the job. Go and talk to your HR rep, or if you work in a very small company you could probably talk to the owner or manager of the business. They will be able to tell you if the company you are working for carries this coverage. This will probably be one of the first questions you will want to ask if you are new to a job as well. Knowing that you are covered, especially if you are working in a physically demanding or dangerous environment, can be a key to protecting your pocketbook down the line.
Are You An Employee?
This may seem like a superfluous question, but sometimes workers, and even employers, get this wrong. There are certain classifications of workers that do not qualify as employees. One of these types of workers is an independent contractor. Contractors are individuals who are hired by a company for anywhere from a day to several years in order to work on a project or specific task. You might be given an office and all of the treatment of an employee, but at the end of the day you do not qualify as an employee. If you are not sure whether you are an independent contractor, you should go and ask your HR rep. You can also tell if you look at your pay statement. If your employer is not paying their share of social security and Medicare taxes, then you are probably a contractor. Volunteers do not count as employees either. If you are a full time volunteer, you are not likely to be covered by these benefits.
Was Your Illness or Injury Related to Your Work?
The last question you have to ask is what your injury was related to. In fact, it will have to be related to the work that you normally do or were asked to do as a part of your job requirements. This means that if you work in a factory and were injured while driving to work, you are not covered. If you work as an electrician and survive a terrible electric shock, but you have to be hospitalized, you will be covered. In areas where the injury might be considered work-related, such as stepping on a nail in the work parking lot during your lunch break, you might want to consult an attorney if your employer is denying you workers’ compensation benefits.
These benefits can be great for an employee that gets injured on the job. They will help to completely eliminate, or at least reduce, hospital bills and doctor visits related to workplace injuries and illnesses. To be eligible, you just have to remember that your workplace needs to carry the coverage, you have to be an employee, and your injury or illness must be related to the work that you are required to do as part of your job. If you answered yes to the three questions above, then you should be eligible for these benefits.