What to Know About: Worker’s Compensation
Legally employed workers are often protected from injuries sustained at their place of work due to the worker’s compensation insurance that most employers are required to possess. Because these injuries can cause sudden financial hardships for the injured employee and his family or dependents, worker’s compensation is intended as a means to pay the injured worker’s bills and medical costs during the recovery period.
These payments are capped and employers are protected from lawsuits but must provide worker’s compensation benefits to injured employees regardless of fault of injury. Much of the worker’s compensation process is intended to be streamlined for efficient and accurate filing of claims, but there are several intricacies that both employers and employees must bear in mind.
This worker’s compensation overview will help you gain a better understanding of the process if you’ve been injured at work or if you are an employer who wants to learn more about your compensation obligations. As policies vary by state, it is important to consult with a professional to fully understand your rights and commitments.
WORKER’S COMPENSATION COVERAGE
Worker’s compensation is not dependent upon who’s fault the injury resulted. However, there are legal penalties for those that attempt to claim false injury or misrepresent themselves on official filings. Any injures that are incurred while in service of an employer are subject to consideration. Injuries do not have to take place at the physical work place if the work is carried out remotely.
This also includes work-related functions where work is not necessarily being performed. Examples include company retreats, office parties, business trips, etc. Injuries occurring during an employee’s lunch break may be covered if it occurs in a company owned cafeteria or similar setting. These claims can be denied, however, if it can be determined that the employee was working in an unsafe manner of his or her own volition or was otherwise impaired from alcohol or drug use.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
One thing to keep in mind is the statute of limitations. There is a deadline that worker’s compensations claims must be filed by in relation to the date of the injury in question. For some states, like Ohio, the employee is allowed two years from the time of the work-related injury to file. Other states, such as Nevada, have a much smaller window, allowing only ninety days to pass.
Because these dates vary by state to state, it is important that you check with your state’s policy or consult a professional.
THE GOING AND COMING RULE
Work-related injuries that merit worker’s compensation benefits do not have to occur on the jobsite. However, the commute to and from work is often not covered by most worker’s compensation plans. There are exceptions to this rule if the commute was from one work-related site to another or if it was in service of transportation of work-related materials. Injuries incurred by employees while performing their duties in work vehicles like pilots and mass-transit drivers are typically exempt from the Going and Coming Rule.
Because there are several variables involved in determining what falls under the Going and Coming Rule it is suggested you consult with a professional like the lawyers and Zicarelli and Martello to better understand your rights.
AM I COVERED?
For the most part, worker’s compensation coverage is not determined through the type of work performed or its level of difficulty. Some states, like Idaho and Wyoming, have restrictions placed on undocumented workers. Conversely, California, Arizona, and Texas specifically include undocumented workers under the purview of their state’s worker’s compensation. Depending on the state, other potential filing restrictions may include certain agricultural and seasonal workers, domestic workers such as nannies and housekeepers.
If you are unsure if you qualify to receive compensation following a work-related injury be sure to keep up-to-date and accurate medical records of your injury diagnosis and consult a professional who can help determine you best course of action.
Most injuries occurring while performing work-related tasks, regardless of where they are committed, are subject to worker’s compensation claims. There are several, significant exceptions to the rule that must be taken into consideration while filing. Additionally, statute of limitations and other state-related variables all affect worker’s compensation claims.
Because of the uncertainty and the time-sensitive nature of the process it is highly advised employees planning to file a worker’s compensation claim seek professional legal advice like that of the experts at Zicarelli and Martello who specialize in worker’s compensation law.
All initial legal consultations with us are 100% FREE. So call us, toll free at 800-203-3110 and let’s discuss, one-on-one, what’s best for your future.