Who is Exempt from Receiving Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Workers' compensation is an insurance fund that your employer pays for; it is meant to cover an employee's losses if they are injured on the job, or suffer from a work related illness. One example of a job related illness would be those people who were exposed to asbestos in the process of performing their job and became ill as a result.

Workers Comp Claims - Exemptions

Though in most instances if you are injured while at work you will receive benefits from workers' compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, there are some exceptions. Those who are exempt from collecting workers' compensation benefits include:

  • Volunteers
  • Independent contractors
  • Federal government workers
  • Shop owners
  • Railroad employees
  • Farm workers
  • Maritime workers
  • Standard employees in some states

In addition to these employees being exempt from receiving workers' compensation benefits, there are some instances where an employee may not be eligible to receive compensation, though these vary from state to state. These situations generally include:

  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Injury received during a fight with another employee
  • If employee is injured as a result of company policy violation
  • Injuries that occur while the employee is violating the law
  • Injuries that occur while not at work
  • Mental health problems, unless it can be proven they are due to performance of your job.

Most other injuries received while at work will be covered by workers' compensation. If you are unsure if you are covered by workers' compensation insurance, ask your employer if you are eligible or consult a workers compensation lawyer.

Workers Comp Claims and Termination

Workers' compensation benefits are your right if you are an eligible employee; although some employers do tend to retaliate when a worker applies for benefits, it is illegal for them to terminate your employment due to this. Despite the fact that this is universally true, be aware that in "Right to Work" states, an employer can terminate your employment for almost any reason, but it cannot be directly related to your injury and inability to work due to that injury. In some situations the workers' compensation laws and rules can be complex and not easy to understand. Unfortunately, it is possible that you will be denied workers' compensation benefits, even when you may actually be eligible.