Black Friday is only a couple weeks away. That means that local businesses are already hiring seasonal workers in advance of the holiday shopping season.
Typically, seasonal workers flock to major malls and retailers for the holidays. Evansville is no exception: Take a glance at any online job board in Evansville and you’ll find multiple jobs in retail stockrooms.
However, there are other industries looking for temporary work these days. The shipping industry needs everything from drivers to package handlers to manage the demand for online holiday shopping. Even the Salvation Army needs new bell ringers every winter.
But the reason seasonal work is so necessary this time of year is because crowds at retailers get massive — even dangerous. Black Friday is notorious for crowds that turn mob-like and trample or otherwise injure others just to snag the best deals.
Although we typically think of these injuries happening to shoppers, seasonal workers are also at risk during the mad rush for holiday gifts. The difference is that a seasonal worker injured on the job is likely wondering if workers’ compensation will cover their medical bills.
Getting Workers’ Compensation as a Seasonal Worker
The good news is that workers’ compensation is available to all seasonal workers in the state of Indiana. Indiana requires all employers by law to provide workers’ compensation for all full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees.
However, there are a few scenarios in which you either might not be covered by workers’ compensation or might struggle to file a claim with the correct party.
If you’re an independent contractor or freelancer, you are not eligible for workers’ compensation.
How is an independent contractor different from an employee? Well, independent contractors have their own businesses outside of the companies hiring them. Take, for example, a plumber hired to fix an issue at a department store. The plumber has their own business and is simply onsite at the department store for this temporary job. Even if the plumber comes to the department store frequently or on a regular basis to fix plumbing problems, they’re still independent from the department store.
How do you know if you’re an independent contractor or an employee? Unfortunately, some employers misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid giving them certain benefits like workers’ compensation. Still, the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board considers multiple factors to determine if a person is an employee or a contractor, including:
- If the worker sets their own hours
- If the worker must supply their own tools
- If the worker is allowed to refuse a project assignment
Before agreeing to work seasonally for a business, make sure to clarify whether you are classified as an employee or an independent contractor.
If you want a seasonal job, you may choose to go through a temporary employment agency, more commonly known as a temp agency. Temp agencies match employees to employers with short-term contracts or temporary positions available.
If you get injured at your seasonal job, workers’ compensation should be available to you, but it may be difficult to determine which company is responsible for you. You may be covered under workers’ compensation through your current employer, or you may be covered through your temp agency. Be sure to ask your temp agency how you would handle a workers’ compensation claim if injured at one of their job placements.
Third Party Liability
There’s always the possibility that you may be injured at work and someone other than your employer may be responsible.
For example, if you slip and fall in the icy, unsalted parking lot at work, you may try to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, your employer may push back if they don’t own the parking lot in question.
Instead, you would have to file a personal injury claim with the company that owns the parking lot to get compensation for your medical bills.
There are scenarios in which you may be able to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. For example, if you leave the building to attend a meeting downtown and slip and fall in a parking lot, then your injury occurred on company time, even if it wasn’t on company property. An Evansville personal injury attorney can help you determine which type of claim you may be eligible to file.
Help from an Evansville Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’ve been injured at your seasonal job, the experienced Evansville workers’ compensation attorneys at Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your case.