What if You Were Injured While Volunteering?
Typically, when you’re injured on the job, you have access to workers’ compensation that will cover the costs of most treatments or lost wages. However, if you’re a volunteer, the situation may be drastically different.
Retaining a workers’ compensation lawyer is the best thing you can do to protect your legal rights. A legal team, like Hurwitz, Whitcher, & Molloy, LLP, is there to help you and your loved ones through this difficult time.
Nonprofit Volunteer Insurance
A company’s coverage requirements change from state to state, but in most cases, workers’ compensation is reserved only for those who are paid employees of a company. This means that those who work for free or for minimal benefits may have to seek out compensation via alternative channels. Some companies such as nonprofit organizations use volunteer work regularly and may elect to add an accident medical reimbursement policy to their insurance package in order to protect their volunteers. This policy is designed to cover any medical bills you may incur after being injured while volunteering. It’s riskier for high-functioning nonprofits to not protect their workers, so the chance of you being covered by a larger non-profit greatly increases.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the onus is on the volunteer. It can be expensive to provide coverage for volunteers, and many companies will want to take the cost-effective route. Prior to volunteering, you may be asked to provide proof of insurance or sign waivers mitigating the company’s responsibility. In the event of an injury, you will have to handle your case through your own insurance.
Premises Liability Claim
If the owner of the premises (namely the company or the nonprofit organization) provided unsafe circumstances that resulted in an injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim known as premises liability. The validity of a premises liability claim is dependent on the owner’s negligence. Simply being injured on their property is not enough, nor is working through unsafe conditions. You’ll have to prove that the property owner either created unsafe conditions or knew about the unsafe conditions and did nothing to correct them.
There are many types of premises liability claims, such as:
- Slip and falls
- Lack of building or property maintenance
- Accidents caused by unaddressed weather hazards
- Improper security that led to an assault
- Accidents involving machinery such as elevators or amusement park rides
Premises liability cases are typically pursued by one-time customers, but even regular volunteer workers may be subject to the negligence of a company. If you feel that your injury resulted in the action or inaction of the company you volunteer for, contact an expert attorney as soon as possible. They may help you secure the appropriate benefits and, if need be, assist you in filing a lawsuit.