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Are Volunteers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?


Workers’ compensation benefits are a legally-mandated right of most employees. Providing workers’ compensation insurance allows employees to receive funds for medical treatment in the event of an occupational accident, and allows employers to avoid liability in many cases.

Although the majority of employees in the United States are entitled to some kind of workers’ compensation benefits, a person who volunteers may not be able to receive the same benefits if they are injured on the job.

Some volunteer positions are similar to paid positions, besides the absence of wages. A volunteer may be required to complete paperwork and follow many of the same processes of employment. These positions may seem more “legitimate” than more casual volunteer jobs, but these processes do not necessarily entitle a volunteer to workers’ compensation benefits.

A volunteer’s ability to recover workers’ compensation often depends on state laws. In some states, the workers’ compensation system allows for the coverage of volunteers, some states prohibit the coverage of volunteers, and other laws are unclear about the rights of volunteers or leave it up to employers. An employer may choose not to offer workers’ compensation benefits to their volunteers to decrease their insurance costs, or decide to allow the coverage of volunteers to avoid liability.

Can Volunteers File a Personal Injury Claim Against The Company They Work For?

Even if a person is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through their volunteer position, they still may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. Unlike in workers’ compensation settlements, the position of a business as an “employer” does not excuse them from liability. The terms of a volunteer agreement (or the lack thereof) may permit volunteer lawsuits.

However, a company may require their volunteers to sign an injury waiver as a condition of their “employment.” Our legal team can evaluate the terms of your volunteer position and advise you on the benefits you may be entitled to.

At the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley, our attorneys handle workers’ compensation claims and general personal injury cases. If you were injured because of another person’s negligence, contact us today.

To schedule a free consultation with our lawyers, send us a message or call (530) 413-0245.

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