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What Qualifies You for Workers’ Compensation?

If you get injured or fall ill on the job and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you may receive payments for your medical treatment and lost income. But exactly what qualifies you for workers’ comp? In this post, we answer this important question. Consult expert Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Attorneys if you have sustained a work injury.

Are You an Employee?

When it comes to workers’ compensation, not every worker is considered an employee. Those who are not, such as independent contractors, are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Rideshare drivers like those working for Uber and Lyft are also classified as independent contractors, even though most believe they should be employees. 

You are only eligible for benefits if you are considered an employee. However, some employers will misclassify workers to avoid paying workers’ compensation premiums. When this happens, it could raise a dispute, which a court will settle by determining the following:

  • The level of control you have over your work
  • Your employment contract
  • Your working relationship with your employer
  • Your work schedule and duties and how they benefit your employer

Although volunteers are typically not considered employees, some states allow companies the option of covering volunteer firefighters.

Is Your Employer Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Most employers in Arizona are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of whether their employees work part or full time. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, with some business owners being eligible for exemption. For example, sole proprietors with employees don’t need to take out a cover for themselves.

If your employer isn’t required to carry workers’ comp insurance and doesn’t opt to do so, you may be ineligible for benefits.

Is Your Injury or Illness Work-Related?

Your injury is work-related if you sustained it while in the scope of your work duties or doing something for the benefit of your employer. Most employers won’t cover injuries suffered while you were on your lunch break, at a company retreat, or commuting to and from work. Similarly, you will also be ineligible if you got injured during your work hours while performing a task outside your job description.

Common examples of work-related injuries and illnesses include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome from typing
  • Chronic back pain from loading heavy boxes
  • Amputation due to a machine malfunction
  • Skin cancer from exposure to toxic chemicals

It is crucial to note that even if your injury is work-related, you will not receive benefits if it is self-inflicted or was sustained while you were intoxicated, violating company policy, fighting with a fellow employee, or committing a crime. 

Are You Within the Deadline?

Every state has a statute of limitations that spells out the time you have to take legal action against the at-fault party for an injury. Similarly, there is a deadline within which you must report your work injury and file a worker’s compensation claim. If you miss this deadline, you could lose your eligibility for benefits, even if you meet all the other requirements.

Talk to a Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Attorney

The Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Snow, Carpio & Weekley have a combined legal experience of over 100 years. We are dedicated to defending the rights of workers in Arizona and their families. If you have more questions about what qualifies you for workers’ comp, contact us today at (877) 370 – 5788 to schedule a consultation.