Worker’s compensation is a kind of insurance that is funded by your employer and paid to the injured employee to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs incurred as a result of the injury. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, a successful worker’s compensation claim does not require that the employer was negligent, lowering the burden of proof as well as the costs of filing.
In most states, employers are required to have worker’s compensation coverage. This means that if you’re injured on the job, you probably are entitled to pursue compensation regardless of the type of work you do. As with most things, there are exceptions. For example, you may not be able to claim worker’s compensation if you violated company policy, used drugs or alcohol, or became injured in a fight with another employee, even if you did not start the fight. And of course, you can’t claim worker’s compensation if you were not at work when the injury occurred.
Before assuming that worker’s compensation will protect you in the event of an injury, you should always check the laws of your particular state, because there may be stipulations that make you ineligible. Also, know that independent contractors are not usually eligible for worker’s compensation. An exception is if the worker is misclassified as a contractor, which the employer may have done to avoid liability, but this is not the majority of cases. Some industries, such as construction, that depend on contract workers are among the most hazardous, so it’s good to know what your rights are before you have to use them.
When you’re recovering from an injury, filing a claim or lawsuit might be the last thing you want to think about, but you don’t have to do it alone. For experienced legal counsel, call the Franco Firm at (813) 872-0929 and schedule a consultation.