Sometimes workers are too intimidated by the leadership of their company to ask whether or not they are eligible for workers’ compensation insurance. Even if the employee becomes injured on the job site, they may hesitate before contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer.
How do you know if you are eligible for workers’ compensation insurance? If you are a worker in the United States and specifically in the State of Pennsylvania, you probably are.
Here are some guidelines to understand if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Most workers qualify for workers’ compensation insurance.
Your employer must purchase workers’ compensation insurance for you even if you are the only employee within the company. It doesn’t matter if your job duties take you outside the state of Pennsylvania or even outside the border of the U.S. If you could potentially be injured or develop a work-related illness, you must be covered with insurance provided by your employer.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you work for the federal government, and your office is in Pennsylvania, you still are covered in case of an injury or illness. This coverage comes from a policy written for all federal employees. The same holds if you are a longshoreman or a railroad worker.
You also may not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance if you are a “casual” worker whose employment is “casual” in character. Another way to determine this exception is to ask whether your job is in the regular course of activity of your employer. Since this exemption can fall into a somewhat grey area, it would be wise to consult a workers’ compensation attorney to see if you qualify for coverage based on this nebulous rule.
You also may not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you work out of your own home to make up, clean, wash, alter, ornament, finish, repair, or adapt articles or materials for sale that are given to you.
Are you an agricultural labourer earning less than $1,200 from a specific employer? If you make less than $1,200 from an individual or company, or if you work fewer than 30 days a year for that particular employer, you may not qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You also may not be eligible if you are the spouse or a minor child of the business owner.
Domestic workers are not required to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance as well.
If you work in real estate or insurance, you may not be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. Again, check with a lawyer to understand whether your position in these particular industries meets the exemption qualifications or not.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers most workers in Pennsylvania. Even though the list of exemptions seems rather lengthy, the number of people who fall into those categories are few.
You must be an employee.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must also be an employee. This means you cannot be working as an independent contractor, a freelancer, or any other type of self-employed worker. Volunteers are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance plans either.
Your company must have purchased insurance.
It is illegal for your company not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If they do not, they may have to face jail time and a hefty financial penalty.
Check your workplace for a poster detailing who to contact in the case of a workplace injury. Your employer is legally responsible for posting such information in plain view for all employees to see.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, an employee must receive the injury at the workplace.
You can’t injure yourself riding dirt bikes on the weekend and then blame your injury on an accident that happened during the workday. One side-note to this rule is if you have a pre-existing condition, and it is aggravated by work, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must report your injury or illness promptly.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation policy probably has a deadline for you to fill out the paperwork to be entitled to benefits. This deadline is specific to the plan. As soon as you are injured on the workplace, reach out to the contact person detailed on the workers’ compensation poster that is displayed somewhere in your workplace. To receive answers to questions, you may also want to contact someone within the labour department for Pennsylvania.
Seek a workers’ compensation lawyer’s advice.
The laws regarding workers’ compensation are complicated. To truly understand whether or not you qualify to receive benefits, it is imperative that you talk with an attorney from Pennsylvania.