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Oct 14, 2020

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Do Volunteers Have Access to Workers’ Compensation?

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Volunteers do a lot for the world. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they make a decision to go out and make their communities a better place. It’s unfortunate, but even a volunteer can get hurt. When this happens, are they entitled to workers’ compensation? Not in most situations, but there are some exceptions you should be aware of.

Government Rostered Volunteers

There’s a chance if you’re volunteering for a certain government entity, you could have compensation if you are injured. As a rostered volunteer, your name has been placed on a roster of individuals volunteering for a program that is run by a township, county or municipality. The authorities over the unit sponsoring the volunteer program have approved your name to be on the roster, and doing so means you could have workers’ compensation coverage. This isn’t the case for every government service project, so be sure you know who you’re dealing with and what is offered before making your case.

Volunteering During Employment

There are some situations in which you could receive workers’ compensation as a volunteer if you were volunteering as a part of your employment. For example, you may work construction, and your boss has required you and your coworkers put a roof on a local church. It’s a charity given by your company as a whole, but you are doing it as part of your employment. There’s a chance you could claim workers’ compensation if you are injured while up on the roof.

Interns

Most interns aren’t paid, and many are considered volunteers, but that’s not always the situation. If you’re injured as an intern or practicum student, you could have coverage under workers’ compensation. One situation in which it may be difficult to gain compensation and prove you’re not a volunteer is if you’re interning for a nonprofit organization. There are still some ways around it, but your lawyer will have to help you find the loopholes.

What You Can Do Instead

If you don’t fall under one of the categories of exception, there’s still a chance you could receive compensation for injuries sustained while volunteering. Most businesses have liability insurance or another similar type of coverage. This might be somewhere you can seek compensation. You could also sue a third party, someone you’re volunteering with or the organization itself.

Contacting Your Lawyer

Volunteers are essential to the world, but they can get hurt while volunteering. If this happened to you, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer, like from The Law Office of Mark T. Hurt, to find out if you have options from which to gain compensation.