If you’ve been injured or you’ve become sick due to poor workplace conditions, you may be eligible to receive the workers’ compensation benefits to cover your losses. Primarily, workers’ compensation refers to an insurance program designed to provide medical and wage replacement to an ill or injured employee in the course of employment. It’s also availed by a concerned employee in exchange for waiving the right to sue the employer on the ground of negligence.
Considerations For Your Compensation
However, you should understand that certain requirements should be met before you can be qualified to obtain workers’ compensation benefits such as undergoing a workers’ compensation drug test. Hence, if you sustained injuries or became ill in the workplace, you must know what to do before filing a claim.
To help you with this legal process, keep reading this article to learn about the four requirements for workers’ compensation eligibility.
1. You Must Be A Bona Fide Employee
In most cases, only bona fide employees are qualified to avail of the benefits under the workers’ compensation program. However, you should take note that what constitutes an employee may differ from one state to another. This means not all workers may be classified as an employee.
For instance, many independent contractors such as consultants, freelancers, and other members of the gig industry aren’t considered employees and aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation. Also, there are instances wherein a particular employee is mistakenly classified as an ‘independent contractor.’ So, if you’re misclassified, be sure to consult a lawyer for legal advice.
On the other hand, you should also know that an employee who may be eligible for workers’ compensation can work full-time or part-time. If you’re asked to do a job during work hours, you’re likely considered as an employee.
2. The Injury Or Illness Should Be Work-Related
Another requirement for workers’ compensation eligibility is the injury should be work-related. Typically, anything an employee does for the benefit of the employer is considered work-related. Thus, if you’re performing a job and you’re injured or you become sick, then you may be entitled to the workers’ compensation benefits.
For example, if you’re injured or you got sick due to excessive exposure to hazardous chemicals at the job site, there’s a high chance you’ll get compensated. However, if it’s found out your injury or illness was a result of drug use at the time of work, you may become ineligible for the benefits. Due to these circumstances, your employer may require the employees to undergo a drug test. In such a case, you can hire a lawyer to help protect your rights of filing a claim.
3. Your Employer Should Be Have Insurance
Typically, most employers are mandated to have workers’ compensation insurance, but the determination depends on several factors, including the type of business, number of employees, and the type of job being performed.
While these requirements vary from one state to another, you should keep in mind that most states require the majority of employers with one employee to buy workers’ compensation insurance. Thus, to make sure you’re eligible to receive benefits under workers’ compensation, check if your employer carries this form of insurance.
4. You Should Meet The Reporting Deadlines
To become eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim, it’s essential that you meet all the reporting deadlines as required by your state law. Depending on the state you’re in, you should file a claim within a certain amount of time. This filing requirement includes your notification in writing to your employer. In most cases, the notice should be done within 3 days after what happened, specifying the location and date of the injury or the time you noticed the illness.
Moreover, when it comes to the filing, be sure to gather evidence by keeping receipts, taking notes, having photographs of the area or the condition that caused the illness or injury, and many more. In short, you should stay ahead of the entire process to increase your chances of getting approval within the fastest time possible.
There are many things to consider when figuring out your workers’ compensation eligibility. Fortunately, by keeping these requirements in mind along with the hiring of a workers’ compensation lawyer, you’ll quickly determine whether you may be entitled to the benefits or not. Your lawyer can help you understand the state laws and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. That way, you can maximize your recovery and make sure you’re healthy to return to work and get your normal life back.