The Basics Of Workers' Compensation Benefits

Whether or not you qualify to receive workers' compensation benefits depends on several factors, such as your employment status. If you do not meet the qualifications, you may have to find other methods to cover the costs of your injuries and damages. Here is what you need to know about filing for unemployment and meeting the qualifications.

Who Can Receive Workers' Compensation?

In most instances, only employees are eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. There are two particular exceptions though. Railroad workers and vessel crew members are not eligible to receive benefits. In order to receive benefits, both sets of workers would need to file a lawsuit against their employers. There are federal laws in place that can help make the process of suing easier. 

Are Independent Contractors Eligible?

Independent contractors are not considered eligible for workers' compensation benefits since they are not employees. If you are unsure of whether or not you are an independent contractor or employee, talk to the human resources department of the company you work at. 

There are some factors that point to whether or not you are an independent contractor. For instance, if you are responsible for providing your own tools to complete a job, you are considered a contractor. Other factors include:

  • You are responsible for paying your own taxes. 
  • You are not guaranteed a position with the company.
  • You do not have to report to supervisor as your work progresses. 

As an independent contractor, you might only be hired to complete only one job. 

Do You Have to Prove Fault?

In order to receive workers' compensation benefits, you do not have to prove that your employer was responsible for your injuries or the conditions that led to it. In fact, fault usually does not come into play in workers' compensation cases. There are some notable exceptions though.

If you were found to be intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your accident, you could be denied benefits. 

What If Your Claim Is Denied?

In the event that your claim for benefits is denied, you have the option of appealing the decision with your employer's insurance company. You can also file an appeal with the state's labor board. You cannot file a lawsuit though. Federal and state laws prevent filing a lawsuit when workers' comp is available. 

There are many other ins and outs to workers' compensation that you should know when you are injured on the job. Talk to an attorney to learn the best strategies for successfully filing for benefits.