One of the basic tenets the U.S. was built upon was states rights. Instead of the federal government making every law, the states have the power to make their own. While there are often federal guidelines for many things, each state can choose to adopt these in total or add their own conditions. The result is that there are times when it is impossible to give universal information. An example of this is workers’ compensation benefits. The laws for each state are different, and therefore, while some basic principles are shared, it is up to you to check with an expert in your area to see if your particular circumstance is covered.
Who Is Covered?
Typically, every employee who works for a company and suffers an injury or illness that can be traced back to a workplace accident or incident is covered. In some states, workers’ compensation coverage is not required for all businesses, so it is imperative that you know if your employer has it. Check with a manager or HR representative to see what the procedures are for an on-the-job injury or illness.
Who Is Not Covered?
Some contract employees, seasonal agricultural workers, and domestic workers are not covered under workers’ compensation insurance. This is due, in large part, to the fact that these types of businesses may not need to carry workers’ compensation insurance universally. Individuals do not need to carry extra coverage in case they hire someone to work for them, such as a personal assistant or nanny. If either of these employees gets hurt in an employer’s home, the homeowner’s insurance may cover the related expenses.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Covered?
Usually, an injury that occurs during the normal scope of your job is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This means if you get hurt while performing a primary job function, or even a special task that a superior has asked you to do, the benefits from the provider may foot the bill. There are instances when workers’ compensation insurance does not kick in. These may include:
- Things that happen off the clock and off the property
- An accident that may occur while commuting to and from work
- Company parties and social events and outings such as happy hour, picnic or a holiday celebration (unless attendance was mandated, the employer benefited, or the activity occurred within business hours in the workplace)
If you find yourself injured as a result of a work-related incident, report it immediately to your manager. Unsure if you are covered? Consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to get further guidance along the way.