Sustaining an injury on the job or becoming symptomatic with an occupational illness can be frightening and disorienting for many reasons. Injury and illness are inherently challenging, as there are no guarantees that you will fully recover. However, when injury and illness are tied to work, additional concerns arise. You may be asking yourself how long you’ll be out of work and whether your job security will be impacted by your situation. You may be concerned about subtle forms of retaliation if you report your injury. You may also be worried about how you’re going to pay the cost of your medical care given that you’re likely missing work days to recover from your injury. It’s important to understand that the chances are very good that you’re eligible to submit a workers’ compensation claim that will largely alleviate the financial burdens associated with your work-related condition. If you’re not eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits, an alternative path to securing compensation may be available to you at this time.
Why Worker Classification and Circumstance Matter
Most of the time, workers who are classified as full-time and part-time employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits unless they work in one of a few select specialty industries including the railroad industry. The major exception to this rule is full-time and part-time employees of companies that only keep a few people on their payroll. Very small businesses are often exempt from the mandate that they maintain workers’ compensation coverage on behalf of their employees.
Unlike full-time and part-time employees, independent contractors are not generally eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. The major exception to this general rule involves misclassification. Sometimes, either knowingly or unknowingly, employers misclassify workers who should benefit from an employee classification as independent contractors. Independent contractors don’t benefit from certain protections and benefits, so it’s not hard to see why some employers misclassify these workers in an effort to save money. If you think that you may be improperly classified as an independent contractor because you do the work ordinarily afforded to an employee, speak with a lawyer about your situation. It’s possible that righting a classification error could reveal that you are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you haven’t yet scheduled a confidential consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your options, please do so now. Speaking with an attorney and having your case evaluated will not obligate you to take any particular course of action. Think of a consultation setting as a risk-free way to ask questions and receive personalized guidance so that you can make informed decisions about which steps to take next. Don’t place yourself in a position to ask, “What if?” for years to come. Speak with workers’ compensation attorneys, like workers’ compensation attorneys in Queens NY from Polsky, Shouldice, & Rosen, P.C., about your options today.