Do Workers' Comp Benefits Change with Occupation?

Workers’ compensation laws are often complex, and many individuals are unaware of how the insurance coverage may apply to them. One question that most workers have is whether or not the benefits of workers’ comp change from one occupation to the next.

First, it’s important to understand what workers’ compensation really is.

What Is Workers’ Comp?

Essentially, workers' compensation insurance is insurance that covers costs in the event that someone is injured at work or becomes ill due to the conditions of the workplace. Workers' compensation can be used to cover medical expenses. This includes any initial visits to the emergency room or emergency care that is needed, as well as follow up treatments with physicians and any necessary physical rehabilitation. Additionally, it includes compensation for the time that will be spent off of work during recovery; however, this is usually about two-thirds of a worker's weekly income and will typically not last beyond two years.

There is also compensation for any permanent impairment that results from the injury, although these fall more into the category of disability payments. Additionally, vocational rehabilitation services are covered in the event that the worker needs to change fields or jobs due to the severity of the injury; these services include retraining for the new field. Workers' compensation also addresses death; it provides benefits (typically a lump sum payment in addition to burial costs) to the family members of the deceased in the event that the worker actually loses his or her life. Double check what your employer offers as coverage, this is very important to know and understand.

How It Changes Based On Occupation

The ability to claim workers’ compensation benefits depends on an employee’s standing with their company. This can mean whether a person is a full-time employee or if they are a contracted worker.

Full-time employees are typically entitled to workers’ compensation coverage and an injury sustained at work can be considered eligible for benefits. When someone is an independent contractor on a worksite, however, they may not be eligible to be covered under workers’ compensation insurance.

However, some employers improperly label individuals as independent contractors when they are technically employees. If you are an independent contractor, you have control regarding how your work is completed. If an employer controls how you work, can terminate you, pays you directly, makes unemployment or social security deductions, provides you with materials, or requires you to work specific days or hours, you may not be considered an independent contractor.

It’s important to understand your rights, and our team at Odegaard Miller Law, PLLC is dedicated to helping you seek what’s rightfully yours. Our Montana workers’ compensation lawyers work hard and stand by our clients’ from start to finish, making sure that they are taken care of beyond the courtroom.

Call us today to discuss your potential case.