Volunteers are generally not covered under workers’ compensation in Missouri. However, because there are some exceptions, you shouldn’t assume you aren’t eligible.
Like other workers, volunteers can suffer injuries while working, and this begs the question: what happens when a volunteer gets hurt while on the job? Are they eligible for workers’ comp benefits?
What Is a Volunteer?
In general, a volunteer is a person who provides services for a business or a non-profit without expecting payments or compensation for their services. That said, it’s worth noting that some organizations pay volunteers.
Are Volunteers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Unfortunately, volunteers are generally not covered under workers’ compensation in Missouri. Generally, only employees can file claims against an employers’ workers’ compensation.
Are There Exemptions?
Missouri law defines volunteers who assist state and county government agencies as “unpaid employees” and, thus, may be eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits. These may include:
- Volunteers working for Missouri’s institutions such as prison facilities. This can also include volunteer firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians.
- Volunteers working with a hazardous materials response team.
- Volunteers working for local government agencies, such as the county health and human services department.
Understanding Your Rights as a Volunteer
It is worth noting that some companies have insurance coverage for volunteers. So never assume you don’t qualify for compensation if you are injured as a volunteer. The surest way to know if you’re eligible for compensation is to read through the company’s workers’ comp insurance plan.
Also, as we mentioned earlier, you could be eligible for compensation if your volunteer status is categorized as “unpaid employees” under Missouri law.
Speak With An Experienced Workers Compensation Attorney
If your volunteer status qualifies for workers’ comp benefits, you don’t have to go it alone. The insurance company may employ dirty tricks to devalue, derail or deny your claim. Not to mention you could make a mistake that could jeopardize your claim.
To increase your chances of success, it’s highly recommended that you speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney and have then review your case. Your attorney can help you file your claim within the statute of limitation, collect strong evidence and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Your attorney can also help you avoid mistakes that could ruin your claim.
The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann Is Here to Help
If you have been injured as a volunteer working in Missouri and are not sure if you’re eligible for workers’ comp benefits, contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. Our experienced Missouri workers compensation attorneys can review your case and advise whether you have a case or not. If you have a valid claim we can help you understand the best way to proceed to get the benefits you are legally entitled to.
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