Are Volunteers Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Are Volunteers Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Workers’ compensation offers certain benefits to injured workers when they are hurt or become ill due to the scope of their job. While volunteers are technically “working” for a company, they are not considered employees – therefore, workers’ compensation benefits are not extended to them under Illinois law. Even if a person has a regular volunteering position and shows up for regular work hours, they are still not considered an employee under the state requirement. Therefore, if you volunteer and are injured, you will not have the same options for workers’ compensation benefits as an employee.

What if the Company Volunteers to Pay My Medical Expenses?

The company or organization you are volunteering for may offer to pay for medical expenses associated with your injury, but they are not obligated to. If they do choose to pay for some of those expenses, they are not obligated to pay for any other financial losses nor are they required to pay for 100 percent of your medical expenses or even 50 percent. This is simply a kind gesture on the company or organization’s part.

Volunteers Are Not Without Options

While you may not be covered via traditional workers’ compensation insurance, you may be covered through other liability. For example, if you are injured because you slipped and fell on a wet surface on the premise of where you volunteer, you may have a valid claim for premise liability – which means the property owner or manager is liable for your injury, pain and suffering, as well as any other financial losses that are the result of your injury.

What if I Was Forced to Sign a Liability Waiver?

Liability waivers are companies’ ways for reducing their liability and a way to get out of paying for expenses if a volunteer is injured while working for them. Despite the fact that you signed a waiver, if you are injured due to the company or organization’s gross negligence, a liability waiver may not keep them from paying for any economic losses. The wording of such an agreement will need to be reviewed by an attorney, as well as the facts of your claim, to see what legal options are available to you.

Speak with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

You want to give back to your community, which is why you are volunteering in the first place. If you are injured while volunteering and you are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance benefits, do not assume that your injury and losses have to come from your own finances. You may still have options for compensation. Contact the attorneys at Malman Law to explore your legal options over a free consultation. Schedule your appointment at 888-836-5975 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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