Workers compensation policies cover most jobs and positions, though there are certain employees who cannot recover if they are injured at their job. These might include, but are not limited to, the following:
- employees of the federal government;
- independent contractors (unless you are hired to do work that is particularly risky or inherently dangerous);
- business owners (depending on the state in which you live, you may be able to recover as a business owner if your workers compensation coverage specifically includes the owner);
- employees in private homes, such as housekeepers or nannies
- volunteers and/or unpaid interns
Can I Get Workers Compensation Benefits If I Have Already Recovered Actual Damages for My Injury?
Usually, you can not recover workers compensation if you have already taken your employer to court and recovered damages for your injury. Workers compensation is designed to bypass the process of judicial review and enable employees to recover money for injuries that they suffered on the job without having to fight their employer in court.
Most states, however, will allow you to recover both your workers compensation benefits as well as any damages arising out of a personal injury lawsuit, only if your employer engaged in willful, deliberate, or intentional conduct and that your injury was a direct result of that conduct.
What Types of Injuries Are Not Covered by Workers Compensation?
There are specific job-related injuries that are not covered by most workers' compensation plans. Depending upon the laws of the state in which you live, these may or may not include:
- injuries that you cause to yourself when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work;
- injuries that you suffer in the course of committing a crime or engaging in illegal conduct at work;
- injuries that you suffer while doing something that goes against company policy, such as attempting to gain access to an area that is off-limits to employees or getting into a physical fight with a co-worker.
What Types of Employment Practices Are Not Covered?
Workers compensation covers a wide array of employment fields, but often does not extend to claims that are brought against an employer based on the practices of the employer herself, which might include claims for discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination.
Should I Contact an Attorney Who Specializes in Workers Compensation?
If you are injured on the job, you should first file a workers compensation claim. If you are denied complete relief there, but believe you are entitled to it, an employment lawyer specializing in workers compensation will be able to advise you of your rights and of any and all relief to which you are entitled.