If you have been injured on the job, you are typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of whether you were at fault for it. Nevertheless, there are some situations when you might not be able to get compensation for your injury. Here, we’ll go over the requirements you’ll need to meet to be covered by worker’s comp.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance Coverage
First, in order to qualify for workers’ comp benefits, your employer needs to be covered (or should be legally obligated to be covered) by worker’s compensation insurance. In Illinois law, an employer with more than five employees must provide workers’ compensation coverage. Otherwise, there is no requirement.
There are other exemptions to workers’ compensation coverage as well. Farmers who have fewer than 400 working days per quarter do not need to participate in workers’ comp, and independent contractors are not covered since they aren’t technically employees. If you fall into those categories, your injury isn’t likely to be covered.
Fortunately, most employers are required to provide this coverage, so if you are employed, odds are, you are covered.
Circumstances of the Injury
The next requirement for your injury to be covered is for it to have occurred in the regular course of your employment. This means that your injury should be a direct result of you performing your job. In addition, it needs to be severe enough to warrant medical treatment or time off work.
For example, if you are driving a company vehicle to an appointment for work and you get in a wreck, that injury will be considered to have occurred in the course of your employment. On the other hand, if you were driving a company car to grab some lunch at the nearest deli and you get in an accident on the way, you might not be covered since you weren’t performing a job-related task at the time.
In some cases, proving that your injury resulted from your job can be difficult. Your employer may try to fight your claim on that point, so proper documentation is absolutely key to receiving benefits. For instance, if you suffer carpal tunnel as a result of working at a computer all day, you should get compensation, but proving that could be difficult and may require the expert witness of a doctor, medical evidence, and so forth.
Even if you are covered by worker’s comp and your injury arose out of the course of your work, your employer may try to deny you compensation based on a minor technicality. One common reason why employers deny coverage is due to failure to report the injury within 45 days of its occurrence. In some cases, this can be difficult to pin down. Take, for instance, our example about carpal tunnel—since it’s hard to determine exactly when a repetitive stress injury occurred, the 45 day limit could be shaky ground.
If you have suffered an injury while on the job, claiming benefits could pose a challenge, especially if your employer attempts to reduce or deny your claim. You will need legal assistance, so contact the personal injury lawyers at Hart & David today.