What is workers’ compensation?
If you have a work-related injury or illness, your employer is required by law to pay workers’ compensation benefits. You could be injured by:
An incident at work, such as hurting your back when falling, getting burned by a chemical that splashes your skin or getting injured in a car accident while making deliveries, or due to repeated exposures at work, such as hurting your wrist by making movements repetitive, losing hearing due to the presence of loud and constant noises.
How can I avoid getting injured at work?
Employers must have a program for the prevention of injuries and illnesses. The program must include prior training for workers before starting in their work area, inspections of the workplace in order to detect conditions that affect the safety and ergonomics of workers,
It is vitally important that workers comply fully with the recommendations given by employers regarding safety standards during the work period.
What should I do if I get injured at work?
Report the injury to your employer informing your supervisor immediately. If your injury or illness developed over time, report it as soon as you find out or if you believe the injury was caused by your work.
Reporting immediately helps avoid problems and delays in receiving benefits, including medical care you may need.
If your employer does not know of your injury within 30 days and this prevents your employer from fully investigating the injury and how you were injured, you could lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Fill out a claim form and give it to your employer. Your employer must give or mail you a claim form within one business day after learning of your injury or illness.
What benefits do I have the right to receive?
Workers’ compensation insurance provides four basic benefits:
- Medical care: Paid by your employer to help you recover from an injury or illness caused by work
- Temporary disability benefits: Payments if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering
- Permanent disability benefits: Payments if you do not fully recover
- Death Benefits: Payments received by your spouse, your children or other dependents if you die from an injury or occupational disease.
I know that independent contractors are not covered under workers’ compensation. How do I know if I am really an independent contractor?
There is no fixed definition of this term. The agencies responsible for enforcing labor laws and courts take several factors into account when deciding whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. Some employers misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid workers’ compensation and other payroll responsibilities. Simply because an employer tells you that you are an independent contractor and do not need to cover it under a workers’ compensation policy, it does not make it true. A true independent contractor has control over how their work is done. You probably are not an independent contractor when the person paying you:
- Controls the details or the form of your work
- You have the right to fire him
- You pay a salary per hour or a salary
- Make deductions for unemployment or social insurance
- Supplies materials or tools
- It requires you to work specific days or hours.