If you are injured on the job or become ill as a result of your job, then you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits include payment for your medical bills and some of your lost wages.
There is a catch: you may receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for your injury, but by accepting them, you forfeit the right to sue the company over damages. As with anything, there are a few exceptions where you can sue outside of the workers’ comp system.
There are four basic eligibility requirements to receive workers’ compensation benefits:
-You must meet your state’s deadlines for reporting the injury and filing the claim.
-You must be an employee of the company you’re filing against.
-You must have a work-related illness or injury.
-Your employer must carry workers’ comp insurance.
Most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have at least one employee, while some states set the limit at two to five employees. There are special rules for some categories including seasonal workers, domestic workers and farm workers, among others.
Determining the place and time an injury occurs is pretty straightforward. For instance, if you were lifting boxes and hurt your back, or if you fell off of a ladder and broke your foot while arranging merchandise. Basically, anything that you were doing for the benefit of your company at the time of your injury will be covered.
If you are injured during your lunch break, at a company party, or while goofing off at work, your case may be more difficult to determine. This is where a lawyer can help you figure out your options.
A very important thing to remember is that there is a deadline in which to file workers’ compensation claims. If you don’t meet the deadlines in your state for reporting the injury to your employer and filing your claim you could lose your right to receive your benefits.
If you have questions about a workers’ comp claim, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.