Am I Eligible to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured or become ill as a result of your work. Read the following information regarding requirements of eligibility from Towson workers’ compensation attorney, Jeffrey Scholnick.
After suffering an injury or becoming ill on the job, it is important to cover all of your bases regarding possible workers’ compensation benefits. Eligible employees may receive compensation for lost work and medical bills. In most cases, there are three basic requirements that must be met for an employee to receive benefits.
Your Employer Must Be Covered
An employer’s responsibility to provide coverage is required in the State of Maryland. It does not matter the number of people the company employs, what type of service the company offers or what type of work the employees are performing on a routine basis. What is important is that, if you are performing your job and you being paid wages by the employer, and the injury is causally related to work, the employer must provide benefits.
Typically, employers may provide coverage by either purchasing insurance or by self-insuring, and many employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance even if they aren’t required to do so. Even those employers that do not readily provide coverage may choose to “opt in” to the workers’ compensation system. This type of policy ensures that coverage will be provided to any employee injured on the job and protects the employer from a potential lawsuit.
You Must Be an Employee
A thorough understanding of your status as an employee is key when determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are technically classified as an independent contractor, freelancer, consultant or volunteer, it is highly probably that you are not entitled to benefits. However, employee misclassification is a common occurrence in the workplace, so it is always helpful to consult an attorney if there is confusion. Many people are told that they are independent contractor or “casual” employees, when, in fact, for Maryland Workers’ Compensation benefits, they are actually employees.
The Maryland definition of “employee” is actually broader than the definition used by the IRS. Often, whether you are an employee is determined by the issue of “control”- Do you work on your own, or does the employer dictate the terms of your work? This is all the more reason why you should consult with an attorney if your case is contested by the employer or the insurance company for the employer.
Your Injury Must Be Work-Related
Often times, this requirement is clear-cut. If you were injured performing a duty for the benefit of your employer, or you became ill as a direct result of your work environment, you are most likely eligible for benefits. Nonetheless, certain situations that are much less obvious can present themselves. An injury that did not happen at work, but has some connection to the job may still merit further determination on whether you are covered.
No matter what the cause, it is highly advantageous to seek legal representation from a workers’ compensation attorney as he or she will provide you with the necessary information and action you need to help receive the compensation you deserve. By familiarizing yourself with these requirements for workers’ compensation benefits, you can better prepare yourself should you suffer an unfortunate injury at work.
For more information regarding worker’s compensation benefit eligibility, contact the Towson workers’ compensation attorney, Jeffrey Scholnick, at the Law Office of Jeffrey Scholnick today.
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