Workers’ compensation benefits are a type of insurance given to employees in order to cover any employment-related injuries or illnesses, no matter who was at fault for the incident. In return for this coverage, the employee agrees not to hold the employer liable for any injuries received while on the job. The insurance covers medical care, lost salary and retraining. However, while many employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there are certain categories of workers that are not covered.
1. Business Owners
In some states, the owner or sole proprietor of the business is not eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In other states, the owners may personally elect to cover themselves under their employee’s workers’ compensation policy if they pay the insurance premiums.
2. Federal Employees
While employees of the federal government do receive workers’ compensation, their benefits are considered separate from the standard state-run workers’ compensation policies. Federal employees receive their workers’ compensation through the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). While under a different umbrella than the state-lead policies, FECA still provides federal employees the same coverage for work-related injuries or illnesses.
Since they are unpaid, volunteers are not considered employees and, therefore, are not covered by any workers’ compensation insurance. Volunteer firefighters and police officers are an exception to this rule since both groups are covered by workers’ compensation insurance policies.
4. Independent Contractors
Independent contractors provide goods or services under a contract or verbal agreement. They are not considered employees, even when contracted by a business or corporation. This can become a source of contention in certain workers’ compensation claims, as some corporations will attempt to classify an injured employee as an independent contractor instead of an employee to avoid paying their medical bills. Because of this, there are several key factors that are used to differentiate an employee from an independent contractor:
- Does the company control how the worker does the job?
- Does the company control business aspects for the worker (i.e. payroll, equipment, reimbursements and expenses)?
- Is there a written contract describing the nature of the relationship?
- Does the worker hold positions in the same field with other companies?
If the answer to these questions is “yes,” the worker is most likely an independent contractor for the company and is not eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
If you were injured on the job and are unsure if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, contact a work related injury attorney in Newark to determine what damages you are eligible to receive.
Thanks to Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and who is not covered.