We all go to work to earn money and better our lives but due to unfortunate circumstances, we end up getting hurt on the job. Does this mean that we have to lose wages or undergo pain and suffering simply because we got hurt on the job? Absolutely not. This is why we created a list of common workers compensation questions that we receive in Hyannis.
Common Workers Compensation Questions
1. Can You Get Workers Compensation After Retirement Age?
Workers compensation is meant to compensate you for lost wages and pay for your medical bills due to your lost ability to work. Once you are past retirement age, your lost ability to work doesn’t matter anymore because you won’t be working.
However, if you are still working past retirement age, you can choose to receive workers compensation or retirement benefits.
According to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act of 1916, workers compensation pays up to 75% of your salary tax free while retirement benefits only pay 60%. This explains why most people choose workers compensation over retirement benefits as long as they are considered disabled.
2. Can You Get Workers Compensation if You are Assaulted at Work?
Perhaps you slipped and fell at a construction site or your foot got smashed in heavy machinery. Most workplace injuries are simply accidents and not an intentional act. However, we rarely hear about the less acknowledged source of injury: customers or your fellow workers.
Nearly 2 million employees are victims of workplace violence. You can get workers compensation if a fellow employee or a customer assaulted you at your workplace. You, however, have to prove that the assault was purely work related and not personal.
For example, if you work at a restaurant and a fellow waitress attacks you for stealing her boyfriend, the assault will not be considered work related. However, if she assaulted you because you can’t find a particular bottle of wine that a client had ordered, then the assault might be considered work related and you might be eligible for workers compensation. Keep in mind that you will not receive compensation if you are the one that started or provoked the assault.
3. How Long Do You Have to be Employed to get Workers Compensation?
Is it possible to get workers compensation even though you just started working? Yes. Generally, workers compensation laws don’t take into account the length of time you have been employed. The most important elements considered in a workers compensation claim is:
- Whether your injury was work related.
- Whether state and federal laws exempt you. Railroad workers, for instance, are exempted from workers compensation by these laws.
- Whether you are an independent contractor or an employee
In short, it doesn’t matter if you have been working for ten minutes. If you are injured, you are entitled to workers compensation as long as you meet the above criteria.
4. Are Volunteers Covered by Workers Compensation
In most cases, volunteers are not covered by public workers compensation. This is why before you become a volunteer in some organizations you need to have independent coverage. Don’t assume that because an organization accepts volunteers that they will automatically compensate you for any injuries you suffer while on the job. It’s a good idea to find out if the organization has an insurance policy that covers volunteers before volunteering.
5. Are Undocumented Immigrants Covered by Workers Compensation?
Undocumented immigrants make up 3.5% of the population in the United States and a good number of them are in the workforce. So, can you get workers compensation if you are an undocumented immigrant working in Hyannis?
The Immigration Reform and Control Act specifically states that employers should verify if a potential employee is legally authorized to work in the United States. If an employer knowingly hires unauthorized employees, they could end up paying as much as $10, 000 in fines per unauthorized employee.
Because of IRCA, many employers deny giving injured undocumented immigrant workers compensation. They argue that since they are not allowed to work in the United States, they are not eligible for workers compensation.
However, in most states undocumented immigrants can get workers compensation despite the IRCA laws. But we recommend that you speak to a workers compensation lawyer in Hyannis for a case evaluation.
6. If I Quit My Job, Can I Still Get Workers Compensation?
It’s understandable if you quit your job after getting injured but does this mean you won’t receive workers compensation benefits? Workers compensation rules state that you need to prove you were injured at work in order to receive compensation. They don’t consider whether or not you are still working for the same employer.
You can, however, complicate your case if you file a workers compensation claim after quitting your job. The legitimacy of your claim will be thoroughly scrutinized and most employers will claim that you are filing it out of spite.
There are also time limits for filing a workers compensation claim. If you quit your job five years ago, you won’t be able to file for workers compensation. There are also workers compensation benefits that you may not be entitled to such as lost wages.
7. If My Employer Goes Out Of Business, Can I Still Get Workers Compensation?
While recovering from a work injury, you hear that your employer is going out of business. Does this mean that you won’t get workers compensation? The answer is no. Workers compensation benefits are paid by private insurers and not by your employer. All employers must show proof of private workers compensation coverage and they have to pay into the policy on a weekly or monthly basis. In short, your employer is not responsible for paying your benefits so if they decide to close shop, you will still receive compensation for your injuries.
Have Your Workers Compensation Claim Reviewed for Free in Hyannis
Every workers compensation claim is different and the system is very complex. If you have been injured at work and you have been denied benefits or if you are wondering whether you will be compensated, we can help you.