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Before he launched his lawn care business, Andy Froesel worked for a landscaping company that employed between six and eight workers during the peak business season. During his tenure with the landscaping company, Andy incurred a serious leg injury caused by a piece of wood that shot out of a grass collection bag.
“I wasn’t sure if my company or the manufacturer of the lawnmower was responsible for the injury,” said Andy. I had to hire a lawyer just to see if I had a case.”
Because of his case, Andy is able to determine the answer to the most important question asked by workers that face lost wages and mounting medical bills caused by workplace accidents and illnesses.
Are you eligible for workers’ compensation?
The First Question to Ask: Are You an Employee?
At first, it sounds like a stupid question. However, any employment attorney you hire to handle a workers compensation case will ask, “Are you an employee.” The answer goes a long way towards determining your workers’ compensation eligibility. Independent contractors typically are not eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This is the primary reason why many companies in labor intensive industries hire workers from outside of the company. Under the law, independent contractors must file arbitration cases to resolve workplace injury and illness cases.
Does Your Employer Have to Pay for Workers’ Compensation Insurance
This was the one question that confused Andy Froesel when he started his lawn care company. In most cases, employment law mandates that most employers are leally responsible for carrying workers’ compensation insurance. State law sets the minimum number of workers standard for employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The types of business and work performed also plays a role in determining employer workers’ compensation responsibility. In Andy’s case he works with two temporary employment agency workers to avoid what can be costly workers’ compensation insurance. Most states set the minimum number of employees at one, with a few states setting the minimum number of workers at three.
Are You Exempt?
Even if you have a solid-proof workers’ compensation case, you might not be eligible to receive benefits. Here are the most common reasons for workers’ compensation benefit exemptions.
- No documentation that proves your right to work in the United States
- Domestic care worker
- Seasonal worker
- Agriculture industry worker
- Hired by an employment agency
Do You Have Proof?
If you clear all of the legal hurdles that answer the question “Are you eligible for workers’ compensation, you still have not reached the eligibility finish line. In fact, you are a long way from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. You have to prove you incurred an injury or suffer from an illness caused by employer negligence. Proof comes in the form of evidence, witnesses, and documentation of every aspect that pertains to your workers’ compensation case. Documents that make a huge difference in workers compensation cases include medical records and incident reports submitted to employers. If you are injured during a company-sponsored golf tournament, you most likely are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The same cannot be said for a car accident that occurs during your morning commute to work.
The most effective strategy for determining your workers’ compensation eligibility involves working with a licensed employment law attorney that specializes in workers’ compensation cases. A workers’ compensation specialist walks you through complex state laws that determine your workers’ compensation eligibility. Contact an experienced employment law attorney today to see if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.