If you read part one of this post, you already know that there are four standards which will typically need to be met in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The first requires that you are an employee of the business where you were working when you became injured or ill. The other three are covered below.
#2 – Employer Has to Have Coverage
In addition to being considered an employee of a specific business, you also need to be sure that your employer is covered by worker’s compensation. The good news here is this: most employers are required to be covered. While the requirements for coverage vary from state to state, typically businesses are required to have coverage if they have even just a single employee. The coverage that is purchased is usually acquired through the private market, although it is possible for large companies to self-insure in some cases.
The best thing you can do with regard to this point is simply to ask. Find out if your company has coverage, and if you will be considered an employee should you wish to file a claim. It is always better to have this information in advance than to have to scramble when the need arises. Of course, if you have already been injured on the job, it’s better late than never in terms of asking about coverage.
#3 – Work-Related Issue
If you are hurt playing in a softball game on your own time over the weekend, that is not the type of injury which is going to be covered by workers’ compensation. What we are talking about here are injuries which are sustained during the normal course of working for your employer. When an injury takes place on the job and is going to keep you out of work for a period of time, there is a good chance you’ll be eligible for benefits.
One thing to keep in mind is that some injuries are easier to determine than others, in terms of their origin. For instance, something sudden like a box falling on your foot while working in the warehouse is obviously an injury that took place on the job. However, a repetitive stress injury that you develop over time may be more ambiguous. Was that injury the result of your employment, or your habits away from the job? There can be debate in some cases, depending on the specifics of the work you do and the injury you have sustained.
#4 – Deadlines Apply
As long as you meet the requirements of the three previous points we have mentioned, you should be on track to receive benefits from your employer while you are off the job. However, you still have to hold up your end of the bargain in terms of reporting your injuries. There are deadlines that apply here, so act promptly and follow all of the necessary procedures in order to avoid problems.
Workers’ compensation benefits can be a huge help to those who are injured on the job and become unable to perform their duties for some length of time. If you think you may be eligible for benefits, or if you would simply like to know what your coverage looks like in case of a future incident, talk to your employer right away.