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Can Volunteers File Workers’ Compensation Claims?

NY Workers Compensation Lawyer

When an employee injures him or herself while performing job-related tasks, then he or she probably has a claim to workers’ compensation benefits. These are benefits that help pay for lost wages and medical costs associated with the injury. Normally, workers’ compensation laws apply to employees who are receiving some form of payment for his or her services. If someone volunteers, by default, he or she does not receive payment. Due to this, it’s rare that a volunteer can file a claim for workers’ compensation. There are, however, exceptions to the rule.

Compensation Isn’t Always Monetary

Some volunteers do not offer their services free of charge. In fact, there are volunteers who do not accept money but other forms of payment instead. For instance, if you are receiving free meals or reduced rent, then you may be considered an employee. This is particularly true if you enter into an agreement with the other party about your compensation. You have to intentionally enter into this type of agreement or relationship. You cannot take a gift and consider yourself an employee.

Some Volunteers Are Protected

  • There are states that define certain volunteers as employees. This is done for the sake of workers’ compensation! These volunteers include:
  • Those who work in state institutions under the supervision of the Commissioner of Human Services or Corrections.
  • Those who work in building and construction for joint labor-management nonprofit community service projects
  • Volunteer first responders
  • Volunteer ambulance drivers
  • Technical college students who perform services with the school collecting the fee
  • Students who perform services for work training or experience
  • Those who volunteer for emergency response teams

In most of these cases, volunteers are allowed to seek out workers’ compensation.

Good Samaritans Are Not Protected

Volunteers, including those who are simply good Samaritans, are not eligible for benefits. This is because those volunteers do not have an employee and employer relationship. In fact, most have no intention of establishing that type of relationship. If you’re a volunteer that receives no compensation, then odds are you cannot claim workers’ compensation.

When an employee is injured, the money that he or she receives is to offset the medical bills and to help compensate for time off. When you are a volunteer, you are not receiving payment for your work and hence you are not missing out on payment when you can’t work. Of course, if you suffer an injury due to company neglect, you can always file a personal injury claim against the company. To find out more about volunteering and workers’ compensation, contact a NY workers compensation lawyer right away.

Call Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into workers compensation and volunteer work.