Workers’ compensation is an essential form of insurance for almost every worker in the United States. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t cost you anything, and you don’t have to do anything to get coverage. Almost all employers in the U.S. have a requirement to carry workers’ comp coverage for their employees.
This insurance is a “no-fault” variety and protects you should you get hurt in the course of your job. It doesn’t matter who was responsible for the injury; if it happened during your normal work duties, your medical bills and part of your lost wages are both covered.
Many people wonder if they have coverage when they’re only a part-time employee. Learn about how you can qualify for workers’ comp when you’re a part-time employee, and when you may need help from a good workers’ compensation lawyer.
Requirements to Be Covered by Workers’ Comp
The simple answer is, if you’re working a normal job (that is, you’re not an independent contractor, subcontractor, private home domestic worker or volunteer), your employer is probably required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. So, if you get hurt while working the normal duties of your job, you’re covered. Your hours per week or part-time status are irrelevant.
There’s also no qualification for age. That means even a teen working an after-school job has coverage, so long as they meet the other qualifications. Workers’ comp is designed to cover everyone and protect them from the damages they suffer due to a work-related injury.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ comp claims can provide a broad range of different benefits. The goal is to help you get well again so you can get back to work and regain control of your life. This obviously includes benefits to pay for your medical bills but also covers disability benefits, death benefits, partial recovery of lost wages and even job re-training if necessary.
Medical benefits are there to pay for any of the care you need from your workplace injury. This includes doctor visits, emergency room care, medical procedures, and surgery, stays in the hospital, prescription medication and even physical therapy. So long as you stick with the approved providers in your employer’s network, your medical care should be covered.
Should your injury become disabling, there are a number of different forms of disability benefits to which you may be entitled. The first of these are temporary total disability benefits. These are in place to replace the income you lose from being unable to work. They will cover up to two-thirds of your average weekly wages, with a $992 per week maximum in North Carolina. When you’re able to return to work, these benefits cease. They also cease if you reach maximum medical improvement.
Permanent disability benefits are available if you’ve reached maximum improvement and are still impaired. The permanent impairment rating your doctor gives you at this point determines your monetary award. If you cannot work at all, you’ll continue to get the maximum temporary disability benefits for life. If your disability is only partial and you can still do alternate work, you’ll receive partial benefits accordingly.
In some cases, workers’ compensation benefits can pay for alternate job training. This can allow you to obtain work doing a different job that’s more appropriate for your new condition.
Death benefits are in place for the families of those workers killed on the job. They include burial and funerary expenses as well as payouts to sustain the spouse and dependent children of deceased workers.
Even seasonal workers, whether full- or part-time, can get workers compensation benefits, so long as they meet all other necessary criteria. Those employed through temp agencies will generally have coverage through their employment agency, not the employer for whom they are currently doing work.
Claim Denials and the Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Unfortunately, in an effort to avoid fraud, insurers are often quite overzealous in reviewing claims. That means a lot of people who rightly deserve benefits see their claim denied the first time out. When this happens, it’s not the end of the road. There are appeal processes in place. It does mean, however, that you’ll need solid legal help to challenge your denial.
The right workers’ compensation lawyer can get your claim reviewed, gather the necessary evidence to support your need and help to get you the approval you deserve. If you’ve had a workers’ compensation claim denied in North Carolina, Lewis & Keller can help. Give us a call for a consultation today.