Texas Workers’ Compensation Doesn’t Cover Volunteers
Volunteers are a valuable asset to many businesses and organizations, contributing their time and talents to numerous worthwhile causes.
However, they’re often just as vulnerable to workplace injuries as salaried employees. Volunteer injuries are particularly common in higher-risk workplaces such as medical facilities, or in organizations that provide emergency services or disaster relief.
When accidents occur that result in injuries, many people assume workers’ compensation insurance will cover these volunteers. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case.
Why Most Volunteers Don’t Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation is available to employees who develop a job-related injury or illness. Volunteers typically don’t qualify for workers’ compensation, since only paid workers contribute to the workers’ compensation fund.
However, there are exceptions. Emergency medical workers, police officers, and volunteer firefighters responding to disasters may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Under Sec. 406.098 of the Texas Labor Code, emergency service organizations are permitted to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their volunteer members. These organizations and the volunteers serving them commonly provide:
- Hazardous materials response operations
- Fire prevention and suppression
- Emergency medical services
Volunteers Are Entitled to Compensation
Employees who receive workers’ compensation benefits are barred from suing their employer for negligence. However, volunteers who don’t qualify for workers’ compensation retain the right to pursue liability insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits. An organization’s general liability insurance may provide some coverage when volunteers are injured while working.
If you were hurt while serving as a volunteer, you need an experienced attorney to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can help you pursue workers’ compensation benefits if you qualify for them, or assist you in filing an insurance or personal injury claim if you don’t. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.