If you have been injured on the job, you’re probably wondering whether you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The general requirements for workers’ compensation coverage are that you must be classified as an employee, your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance, and your injury must have been work-related. You also have to make sure that you report your injury and file your workers’ compensation claim within the correct time frame. If you have questions about whether you are covered, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your injury and your claim.
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation insurance, you must be considered an employee under the law. Specifically, an independent contractor is not an employee for purposes of workers’ compensation. Independent contractors are workers who do freelance, contracting, or other “gig” economy work like food delivery services or ride-sharing programs. These are normally workers who receive 1099 forms for tax purposes, but just because you receive a 1099 doesn’t necessarily mean that you do not qualify for compensation. It is common for employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors instead of as employees to avoid tax liability. Courts normally weigh a handful of factors regarding your work to determine whether you are an employee or an independent contractor. Some of the factors a court might consider are:
Generally, the more control you have over your work and your schedule and the more you manage yourself, the more likely you will be to be classified as an independent contractor. The more oversight there is over your work and the more benefits you receive from your job, the more likely you will be classified as an employee.
Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage, but not all employers do. Laws vary by state and normally the requirement to carry coverage depends on how many employees the employer has and what type of business the employer conducts. In Washington, DC, the law requires every business to have workers’ compensation coverage, with some narrow exceptions. Some of these exceptions to the general rule are:
Determining whether your injury was related to your job is normally pretty straightforward, and if you were performing a task that benefited your employer and you were injured or became ill because of it, the injury would be considered work-related. Lunch breaks, company events, and travel to and from work are times where injuries would not be considered work-related. DC law generally recognizes three classifications of work-related injuries:
Finally, you must make sure that you follow your state’s guidelines for reporting and filing deadlines for workers’ compensation claims. You should always file a written report with your employer after the injury to put your employer on notice and make them aware of your injury or illness. Some states require you to report immediately, while others give deadlines ranging from 10 days to 90 days. In Washington, DC, you are required to file a written report with both the DC Office of Workers’ Compensation and your employer within 30 days.
You will then file your workers’ compensation claim by filling out the Employee’s Claim Application. Depending on the state, deadlines for filing range from 1 to 3 years after the injury. Under the federal program, the deadline is 3 years, but in DC, you only have 1 year to file your claim.
If you meet these criteria and you were injured as a result of your work conditions, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and lost wages. An experienced lawyer from Regan Zambri Long, PLLC would be an excellent resource and could help you record and document your injuries, make sure your claim is timely filed, and assist you if you are denied the benefits you deserve. Call us today to schedule a consultation.