Am I Eligible For Workers’ Compensation?
Are you suffering from an injury that you believe may qualify you to receive workers’ compensation benefits? If so, you certainly don’t want to miss the chance to seek any compensation that you might be entitled to. When it comes to determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, it can be helpful to understand that there are generally a few requirements you must satisfy, including:
- You must be an employee: This may seem like an obvious point, but it's worth noting - and in some cases, it can become a surprisingly confusing issue. Generally, in workers’ compensation, there is a requirement that you be an employee of any employer from whom you are seeking workers’ compensation. What actually constitutes an “employee”, however, can vary from state to state. Generally, if you are required to work certain hours in a certain location and you are paid directly by the employer from whom you receive a W2 to file income taxes, you are most likely an “employee” – although there can be a number of technicalities that can arise. Subcontractors, for example, are often not considered official “employees” – and there may be other issues pertaining to your specific circumstances that you will need to explore with your attorney.
- Your injury or illness must be work-related: Any illness or injury that will qualify for workers' compensation benefits must have occurred at, or as a result of, the job itself. So, for example, if you are out mowing your yard and you step on an uneven part of the yard and twist your ankle – that obviously won't qualify as a work injury. This point too, however, can sometimes get murky. Sometimes, for example, a worker might contract a certain illness – it doesn't occur "instantly" at work, but develops over time, as a result of ongoing work conditions. One example might be a coal miner who develops black lung, or an employee who works in a building later shown to have asbestos, who develops respiratory difficulties. Those injuries, while not acute and immediate, might qualify for workers' compensation. Certainly, if you had an accident at work – a fall, or being injured by a piece of equipment, or some other sort of incident that caused an immediate injury – that injury would likely also qualify for receipt of workers' compensation benefits.
- Your employer must be insured: To be able to pay workers' compensation benefits, an employer must first obtain workers' compensation insurance. Generally speaking, the majority of employers are required to have workers' compensation coverage. There may be a few exceptions that vary from state to state – for example, some states have a minimum number of employees that must be hired before the requirement to have workers' compensation goes into effect, while others have rules that differ for agricultural and construction industries. Typically, however, an employer must provide coverage. Verifying that your employer has that coverage and can compensate you for your injuries is important.
- You must fulfill reporting requirements: Even if you meet all of the other requirements to file a workers' compensation claim, it is essential to remember that every state will have its own reporting requirements regarding giving notice to the employer, necessary paperwork that must be completed, and a "statute of limitations" – or deadline – by which to file a claim for benefits. Complying with these rules is essential, and failing to do so could mean that you don't receive the compensation you deserve and might otherwise be entitled to.
As you explore the question of whether or not you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to remember that everyone’s circumstances are different. As a result, there may be particular rules or technicalities that apply in your case that you might not be aware of without advice and guidance from a legal team that knows and understands workers’ compensation law very well. At Roden Law, that’s where we come in.
RODEN LAW – YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS
If you have been involved in a work-related accident and you believe you may be entitled to compensation, there’s no day like today to call the knowledgeable and experienced team at Roden Law. Any legal process can be complex – it's our job to take a complex and stressful process and make it simple. We're here to guide you and to provide the excellent representation you need so that you can focus on what's most important – your recovery, and moving on with your life after your injury. You deserve nothing less. If you're ready to get started, we're here to help. Call us any time. We look forward to speaking with you soon.