Injured on the Job? A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You Understand Your Case
When a workplace accident occurs, many employees count on workers’ compensation claims to help cover their medical expenses and/or lost wages during recovery. Though it can require a bit of a battle, compensation is a right that many workers are entitled to.
However, some workers are not eligible to file workers’ compensation claims, which could leave them to cope with an injury alone. Determining whether you are eligible to claim workers’ compensation—particularly when an employer says you are not—can be challenging and it often boils down to whether you are an employee, directly supervised and directed by your employer, or whether you are an independent contractor, working on a particular project but given free reign on how the project or task is accomplished.
If you have been injured on the job, speaking with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you understand your case. Our workers’ compensation lawyers have decades of experience helping injured workers understand their coverage, go toe-to-toe with insurance companies, and fight for what you deserve to get back on your feet. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance most Pennsylvania employers are required to carry so that employees can be financially covered in the event of a workplace accident. Unless the accident was intentional or the worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, workers’ compensation generally does not take fault into consideration.
Though some employers might try to reject compensation claims or offer low amounts of money, compensation is a part of the employment agreement between and employer and employee. Workers’ compensation also protects an employer from a personal injury lawsuit brought by an injured employee.
How do I Know If I am Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Pennsylvania requires nearly all employers to provide workers’ compensation to their employees. Assuming your employer is adhering to the commonwealth’s laws, you will know if you are covered by determining your employment status. A few exemptions allow employers to not cover their workers, but the circumstances behind the exemptions are very specific. Further, in the event of a workplace injury, the employer may have to prove any exemption he or she is trying to claim.
Employers are not required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to independent contractors. But sometimes misclassifications happen, either accidentally or intentionally. In the event of a workplace accident, an employer will generally be required to prove that a worker is an independent contractor.
Why Am I Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Some employers are exempt from covering their employees when the employee(s) have other forms of workers’ compensation coverage. This includes railroad workers, longshoremen, and federal employees.
Coverage is optional for a person who employs domestic servants. It is also not a required to be provided by an employer whose agricultural workers work fewer than 30 days or earn less than $1,200 in a calendar year.
Finally, an employer or company is not required to provide workers’ compensation to independent contractors. An independent contractor is a person who is free from control over the performance of the services they provide and is customarily engaged in the same kind of work independently. You may be an independent contractor if:
- you run your own business or trade and you agree to complete a project or task for someone else
- you rely on your own tools or equipment to complete your work
- you get to choose which projects and tasks you want to work on
- once you accept a project or task, you have freedom in accomplishing it as long as you meet prearranged criteria and deadlines
- you work for multiple people or businesses
Examples of independent contractors include: owner-operator truck drivers, freelance workers, construction contractors and subcontractors, auctioneers, plumbers, and electricians.
What Compensation Can I Still Claim if I’m Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury, you may be able to file a personal injury suit against any individual whose negligence contributed to your injury. A personal injury suit will require you to prove that the person or business you were doing work for was in some way negligent or failed to fulfill a legal duty.
To prove negligence, you will need to show that:
- the defendant had a legal duty to act in a certain way
- the defendant breached that duty either by failing to act or acting contrary to the duty
- the breach of duty caused the injury
- you were harmed or injured as a result of the defendants action or inaction
In some cases, both the person or business and you the independent contractor might share some of the responsibility and legal duty. For example, a construction site might have several parties responsible for maintaining a safe environment. If the person who directly contracted you for work fails to maintain his or her share of workplace safety, it may be a breach of duty.
If you work as an independent contractor and you were injured in the course of your work, you should partner with an experienced personal injury lawyer to see if your case entitles you to compensation.
Munley Law Workers Compensation Attorneys Can Help
Munley Law’s experienced personal injury lawyers have taken on and won a variety of cases, from vehicle accidents and workplace injuries to product liability and workers compensation. We are ready to take on your case and pursue the compensation avenues that are available to you.
Even when you are not eligible for workers’ compensation, a work-related injury should not leave you without recourse. Many times, accidents are the result of negligence and you are entitled to compensation so that you can take the time you need to recover from your injury without it being a financial burden.
Our attorneys have decades of cumulative experience with different kinds of cases and we are recognized by peers and clients alike as top-tier lawyers. We’re committed to doing out absolute best on your behalf to recover the compensation you deserve. We will investigate your case, advise you on who may be liable for the injury you sustained, and help you calculate the damages you have suffered.
Take your first step toward justice today and schedule your free case consultation. We won’t rest until you’re able to.