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Are you eligible for workers compensation?

When you are injured at work, rarely do you have time to think about how you can pay. You likely want to focus on your injury, on getting better. On the other hand, as early as you can, look into your coverage. For some this will be a must. Medical bills are, for logical reasons, one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. You can avoid that. Typically either your employer or your employer's insurer will cover your work related injuries, if the injuries are work related. You are allowed to make mistakes, but if alcohol or drugs are involved, you may lose the compensation. There are some basic requirements to be eligible for worker's compensation.

First, your employer must have worker's compensation insurance. Some companies will cover their own workers, such as Fortune 500 companies. Second, you must work for this company where you were hurt. Finally, the injury must have occurred while you were working. As noted, if alcohol or drugs were involved, you also risk losing the help. Let's go over these requirements in more detail.

Employer's Coverage
There are some diverging laws here which make this complex legally to speak about. Why? All state laws are different when it comes to worker's compensation, but most have similar systems. Some states make it mandatory for anyone who employs workers to provide these benefits. Other states set a different minimum, such as having 3 employees makes it mandatory to have benefits. Some states allow charities to opt out, so if you work for a charity, you may not be covered. Even if your company is not required to have worker's compensation, quite often they do so. Most employers will have some form of worker's compensation. It's just good business.

You Must be an Employee
This may sound simpler than it is. You may think you're an employee and are in fact not a regular employee. There are many independent contractors who lack any kind of worker's compensation benefits. You may be a carpenter, or a writer, or even a computer tech, but not directly hired by the company who pays you. If you get hurt on the job, and are considered an independent contractor, you likely have no coverage. There are also some divergent laws on volunteers. Volunteers are technically not employees,and are usually not covered, but here again state laws can differ.

The Work Related Injury
The injury does not necessarily have to have occurred on-site, of course, as you could be working for your employer anywhere and get hurt. Construction workers are a perfect example. Other injuries can occur in the office too. You may suffer a hand injury in a job which involves a lot of typing. You may trip on something in the workplace, and break a leg. If you are doing something on the job, something which benefits your employer, you are then covered. On the other hand, if you are injured leaving work, or while playing pickup basketball at a company party, these are different.

If you have suffered an injury, and you are being denied help, you may consider getting legal representation. A personal injury lawyer can often work on a "no win, no fee" philosophy, so you have nothing to lose. As medical bills can reach tens of thousands, this is an important option.