Who can file a workers' compensation claim?

Workers' compensation acts around the country are administered by a governmental agency for that jurisdiction. If an employee is injured on the job, he or she must report that injury to his or her employer within a designated period of time and file a written report of that injury. If the employee is forced to lose time from work or requires medical treatment, then he or she may file a claim with the administrative agency that administers workers compensation claims for that jurisdiction. Once a claim is filed, the employer can either contest or accept the claim.

If the employer accepts the claim, then the employer is agreeĀ­ing that the employee was injured on the job, that the injury arose out of the employment, and that the employee is entitled to medical coverage and perhaps to wage benefits for the time disabled. If the employer decides to challenge the claim, there will be a hearing before an administrative law judge or a hearing officer who will then make a decision whether the claim is compensable and whether the employee should be paid wage benefits and/or medical benefits.

There has been a good bit of litigation over the years as to exactly what constitutes being an employee. Typically a person who is an independent contractor will not qualify as an employee under the workers' compensation act. Likewise, the individual who is the owner of the business may not qualify as an employee unless he or she has expressly chosen to include him-or herself in that definition within the policy of insurance issued.

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