Volunteers can play an important role in our society as a whole and in many types of facilities and organizations. While they may perform many of the same tasks as full and part-time employees, their status can affect their ability to recover benefits if they suffer an on-the-job injury. If you or a loved one was injured while performing volunteer duties, you may not have the same financial recovery options as injured employees.
In most cases, volunteers are not covered under workers’ compensation insurance. That could mean you are left to cover the medical and financial costs of your injury on your own. It could also mean you are a volunteer who qualifies as an exception, or it could entitle you to seek compensation via a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. A workers’ compensation lawyer in your area can help.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Only for Employees
In most states, employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in place when they have the required number of employees on staff. These benefits are intended to provide medical care to ill or injured workers and financial benefits throughout their recovery.
In general, you qualify for workers’ compensation if:
- Your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance
- You were a qualified employee at the time your injury occurred
- Your injury or illness happened at work or was work-related
- You meet the reporting and filing deadlines required by your state
It can be hard to understand how you could be hurt at work and still not qualify for benefits. The best way to find out how you can seek compensation for your injuries is to let a workers’ compensation lawyer review your case, status, and recovery options.
Exceptions Can Be Made for Certain Kinds of Volunteers
Though generally only for employees, workers’ compensation for volunteers could be possible under specific circumstances, which can vary by state. Some states make exceptions for the following volunteers:
- Volunteer firefighters
- Volunteer police officers
According to Census Bureau statistics for 2021, there are approximately 60 million adults who performed approximately four billion hours of volunteer service across the U.S. If you or a loved one was injured while volunteering, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you learn more about your financial recovery options.
Companies and Organizations Can Make Their Own Exception
Volunteers can be an important part of many businesses and organizations. Some take the extra step to protect their volunteers by purchasing optional workers’ compensation coverage. If you are unsure of whether the place where you were volunteering has this optional coverage in place, a lawyer can help you find out.
They can request the necessary information on your behalf and guide you through the required paperwork, guidelines, and filing deadlines.
Financial Benefits Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Injured employees typically receive two-thirds of their average weekly salary for the time they are unable to work. The severity of the injury will determine how long they receive benefits.
As an injured volunteer, the lawyer who represents you will clarify which benefits you may receive. They can also help you document your typical income from all sources.
Medical Benefits Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation covers all the medical care you will require to recover as fully as possible from your workplace injury. You may be required to receive medical care from the healthcare team and facility your employer chooses rather than choosing your own.
It is important to continue to receive medical care until your doctor declares that you have achieved maximum medical improvement.
Financial Recovery Options for Injured Volunteers
If you were injured while volunteering and workers’ compensation benefits are not available to you, you could be entitled to third-party compensation. Your lawyer can help you file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit, seeking the following damages:
- Current and future medical bills
- Loss of income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Treatment-related travel expenses
- Property damage or destruction
- Physical disability and disfigurement
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages, if applicable
Your lawyer will investigate every aspect of your case, including the types and amount of damages you can recover. They will create a carefully detailed list of your expenses and losses. They will also collect evidence that substantiates the monetary value of your potential compensation.
Most lawyers will review your case at no cost and will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This type of fee structure means they will cover all the costs of building and preparing your case, and you will owe no legal or attorney’s fees at all unless you receive compensation.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Compensation for You
When you hire a lawyer to represent you, they will conduct a comprehensive investigation, starting with identifying the at-fault entity or organization. With their legal guidance and support, you can document the cause and severity of your injuries.
To support your compensation request, they will:
- Collect evidence that proves the cause of your injuries
- Calculate the financial damage of your injury case
- Prove the at-fault party’s negligence and financial liability
- Canvass for accident scene for photos and video footage
- Speak with all interested parties on your behalf
- Complete and submit insurance claim forms and paperwork
- Provide ongoing updates on the progress of your case
- Negotiate a fair and appropriate financial settlement
- Represent you in court if a settlement cannot be reached
While your lawyer builds your case and deals with the insurance company, you can focus on getting better.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Team Today
If you or a loved one was hurt while working as a volunteer, we can help. You do not have to accept financial hardship or injury-related medical bills without a fight. Our workers’ compensation lawyer will explain the exception that could mean volunteers are covered under workers’ compensation.Contact one of our workers’ compensation team members to learn more about your options for financial recovery. Get started by calling our KJT Law Group consultation team at (818) 507-8525 today.