If you are in an accident at your place of employment, or during working hours, after the initial shock wears off you may be wondering (and hoping) that worker’s compensation insurance will cover your expenses. Exactly when are you covered?
Employee vs Contractor
First, you must be considered an employee in order to be covered by worker’s compensation insurance. In most cases, workers know whether they are employees, but the general rules are:
If you receive a W-2 at the end of the tax year, you are an employee. If you receive a Form 1099, you are an independent contractor.
An independent contractor makes his or her own schedule. If you decide not to work one day, you don’t have to, as long as you complete the task you were assigned by the agreed upon time.
Independent contractors are free to work for other employers at any time, and to take vacation time without asking in advance, and without limitations.
There may be circumstances in which the lines between contractor and employee become blurred. If you believe you should be considered an employee instead of a contractor, you can consult with personal injury attorneys in Buffalo, NY, or in your local area for more information.
Traveling to and from Work
If you are in an accident while on your way to or from work for a scheduled shift, you are covered by worker’s compensation insurance. Things are a little more complicated if you take a detour on the way home, or on your way to your place of employment. If the detour was personal, like stopping at the grocery store, you may be considered to be on your own time.
In a situation like this, worker’s compensation benefits may not be available, but you may have a possible personal injury claim. Many law firms handle both personal injury and worker’s compensation cases, and will be able to advise you of your rights in either instance. You may get basic information from attorney websites, like this Rock Hill car accident attorney. Most also offer free consultations if you need more detailed information.
An accident during your lunch hour while at your place of employment is still covered by worker’s compensation. If you leave for lunch, however, you are not on duty, and worker’s compensation may not cover you.
Accidents Away From the Workplace but During Working Hours
Accidents away from the workplace are covered if you are on a work-related errand. However, if you do several errands, some for yourself, and some for work, it will become much more difficult to determine if an accident occurred on work time or personal time. Even if you are covered by worker’s compensation insurance for a car accident during work hours, your benefits will be limited. You may also have a claim against the driver of the other vehicle if the accident was not your fault. A car accident attorney will be able to advise you of your options.
Injuries at the workplace
If you are at your place of employment, worker’s compensation will cover most accidents. There are a few exceptions:
- If you are on the premises outside of your work hours, and not authorized to be there
- If the accident or injury is caused by your deliberate actions
- If you willfully violated required safety regulations
- If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol