Millions of American employees are hurt on the job each year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in some occupations such as animal production and ground transit face a 10 percent or even higher annual chance of serious injury. Unfortunately, not all employee types are eligible for workers’ compensation in Illinois.
According to Illinois law, independent contractors do not count as employees of a company. As non-employees, they are not entitled to compensation if they are injured on the job. Some employers may abuse this law by classifying employees incorrectly as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits. Workers should know their true status to safeguard their rights in case of injury.
Independent contractors are also protected in one important way by their ineligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. As free agents outside the state workers’ compensation system, they are allowed to file personal injury lawsuits if they have been hurt because of employer negligence. A Woodstock worker compensation lawyer is aware that employees within the system do not have this choice. Illinois law prohibits them from suing their employers.
Domestic workers are people who work in private households. This employee type includes all of the following jobs:
- Au pairs
Illinois law does not require private homes to offer benefits for these employees, as a Woodstock worker compensation lawyer knows.
Employees on small farms
Large farms and agricultural operations in Illinois must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. This rule does not apply on a smaller scale. According to current Illinois workers’ compensation statutes, the obligation is waived for farms and other agricultural businesses employing fewer than 400 days of labor per quarter. These farms are considered household operations and are not required to carry compensation insurance.
Farm employees should investigate their compensation status and find out whether their workplace is exempt. They need to know that this rule also excludes the hours worked by the farm owner and his or her spouse. A small farm with four or five full-time employees other than the owners may still not reach the threshold of 400 working days per quarter.
Learning about coverage
According to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, more than 90 percent of workers in the state are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Employees can protect their rights by learning more about how Illinois law applies to them. Injured workers should consider talking to a Woodstock worker compensation lawyer.