Workers’ Comp and Temporary Staff

In Illinois, all workers have a right to workers’ compensation coverage with very few exceptions. It’s up to their employer to provide that coverage, and if they don’t, they can be held liable. In most cases, this is pretty straightforward—if you are a regular employee of Company A, Company A will cover you if you are injured on the job.

However, when it comes to temporary employees (i.e. those supplied through a temporary staffing agency), some people can get a little confused. Often, these workers are overlooked when it comes to workers’ compensation, even thought they often perform hazardous jobs such as construction or manufacturing.

Temporary workers are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage, just like everyone else. The way that coverage is provided is actually pretty straightforward, though there are cases where it can get a little complex.

Who Provides Coverage

Typically, it’s the temporary staffing agency, not the third-party client, who provides workers’ compensation coverage. This means that if a temporary worker gets injured on the job, wherever they may be working at the present time, their compensation will come through the staffing agency.

Things get a little complex when a temporary staffing agency includes an alternate employer endorsement in their workers’ compensation policy. This endorsement essentially extends the staffing agency’s coverage to the third-party employer as if they were under their policy. Even in these instances, coverage is still provided through the staffing agency, but it can affect certain situations as explained below.

Possibility for Litigation

As with most employment arrangements, employees cannot sue their employers or coworkers if they get injured on the job. This includes temporary staff, but because of the nature of their employment, they may actually be able to claim both workers’ compensation benefits as well as personal injury damages.

If a temporary staff member is injured while working at a company’s facility, and if that injury resulted from some form of negligence on the part of that company or one of their employees, they may have a valid personal injury claim. Since that company is not technically their employer, there is no provision against filing a lawsuit against them.

To protect their clients from this sort of liability, staffing agencies will often include an alternate employer endorsement in their policy. Since this extends coverage to the third party alternate employer, it protects them from liabilities that would normally warrant a personal injury claim against them by temporary staff. If this is the case, workers’ compensation is typically the only recourse for the injured worker.

Seeking Compensation

For temporary staff members who have been injured on the job, compensation is typically limited to only workers’ comp since personal injury claims in these instances are rare. In the case where there is a valid claim, skilled legal assistance is necessary in order to achieve the best possible result for the worker.

Even if there is no personal injury claim, legal representation may still be necessary since 1) the worker may be unaware of their rights, and 2) insurance companies may try to exploit that or downplay their injuries. If you have been injured on the job, make sure you have the skilled legal representation you need. Hart David Carson, LLP, can help, so contact us today for a free consultation.

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