Who Is Covered By Workers' Compensation?

If you are employed in Pennsylvania, the expectation is that you will be covered by workers’ compensation if you are injured in connection with work activities. An employee is any person who performs services for another for valuable consideration (usually money). Note that in Pennsylvania, members of volunteer organizations, such as fire departments and rescue squads, are considered employees even if they are not paid.

“Nearly every Pennsylvania worker is covered by the [Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation] Act. Employers must provide workers’ compensation (WC) coverage for all of their employees, including seasonal and part-time workers.” So says the Pennsylvania Department of Labor’s government website. That website also explains several exceptions and special circumstances:

  • Federal civilian employees, railroad workers, longshoremen, shipyard workers and harbor workers are covered under other compensation programs.
  • Some volunteer workers, agricultural laborers, casual employees, domestics and employees who have been granted a personal religious exemption from the Act may not be covered.
  • Executive officers of corporations may elect exemption from the Act.

Employer-Employee Distinctions Are Not Always Crystal-Clear

In addition to the exceptions listed above, disputes sometimes arise regarding who is covered when a worker has been labeled a “subcontractor” by the paying entity. A company may claim that a particular worker was not an employee but rather, an independent contractor. An analysis of the work arrangements may determine that an alleged independent contractor was, in fact, working as an employee. This distinction can make a great difference after a work-related accidental injury.

If there is any doubt whether your workplace injury should be covered under the Act, you should consult with a knowledgeable lawyer. MHK Attorneys offers free consultations for injured workers in Pennsylvania.

When we evaluate your case, we may also discover that you can file a third-party liability claim in addition to receiving workers’ compensation. This would mean you would file an injury claim or lawsuit against a manufacturer, a delivery service, a maintenance company, or some other person or organization other than your employer whose negligence contributed to your accidental injury.

To learn about the seven biggest mistakes that can wreck your workers’ compensation claim and how to avoid them, request our book entitled What Every Pennsylvania Worker Needs To Know About Workers’ Compensation. After a workplace injury in Pennsylvania, schedule a consultation with a lawyer at MHK Attorneys. Send us an email or call 570-839-8050.