Regardless of how safe a workplace may seem, there is a chance that employees can be injured during the work day while performing their assigned tasks. In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed, requiring that employers establish safety regulations to protect employees from harm. The OSH Act is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in tandem with regulations that are enforced by most states. Employers who operate under the OSH Act must carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.
Is Your Workplace Covered?
In order to file a workers’ compensation claim, you must first ensure that your employer has workers’ compensation coverage. The criteria for business coverage varies from state to state. Some require that if a business has only one employee, then the employer must carry workers’ compensation coverage. Other states set no minimum number of employees. Some states also exempt non-profit organizations from carrying coverage. However, most employers are required to provide coverage, and many who may not be required to do so choose to in an effort to protect against potential suits. Federal employees file workers’ compensation claims through a separate set of coverage that has been established for the federal government.
Are You Eligible?
In order to be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation against an employer who carries coverage, you must be a full-time employee. Independent contractors and most volunteers (with the exception of volunteer fire fighters and non-profit volunteers in some states) are not covered. In addition, many states exempt the employers from offering coverage to domestic workers, farm and agricultural laborers, undocumented workers and seasonal workers.
For a full time employee to qualify, the sustained injury must be work related. If you injure yourself while performing the standard duties to which you are assigned—such as lifting heavy equipment or even typing, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome—your injury should be covered by workers compensation. In general, if your injury occurred while you were performing a task for the advancement of your employer or company.
Some workers’ compensation accidents are more difficult to determine than others. For example, if you are injured at a company function or while you are running errands for your boss. Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your area if you are unsure if your injury is covered under workers’ compensation.