Some types of jobs are not covered by workers’ compensation. Domestic employees, farm laborers, independent contractors, volunteer workers, real estate agents, members of the clergy, and some farmhands are exempt from the law. Other types of jobs are excluded, as are COVID-19 cases. In such cases, employers must show that the infection was not work-related before they can deny workers’ compensation benefits. However, some occupations are not covered by workers’ compensation, such as construction sites.

Exemptions from workers’ compensation

Who is not covered by workers’ compensation?

While many businesses may qualify for an exemption from workers’ compensation insurance, some do not. In those cases, states may allow exempt employers to opt in to their workers’ compensation system. While it is possible to avoid the costs of workers’ compensation insurance entirely, the premiums are typically less expensive than the costs of settling a lawsuit. For this reason, many businesses choose to opt out of the workers’ compensation system altogether.

Intoxication-related injuries

The law in New Jersey addresses intoxication as a defense to workers’ compensation benefits. Intoxication and the use of certain drugs, however, does not prevent employees from receiving benefits. The employer, however, must prove that the employee was legally intoxicated and that the injury was the result of that impairment. Validation of this defense often requires blood or urine samples. The employee may not be able to receive benefits if they were intoxicated, but if they were a passenger in a sober car when they were involved in an accident, the insurance company will likely pay the claim.

Recreational activities

Injuries sustained while participating in off-duty recreational activities aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. Recreational activities may be a part of a workplace’s culture and a way to promote team spirit and camaraderie. But if you were injured in the process, you may hope to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re not sure if the activity is covered under workers’ compensation, contact an attorney who can help.

Unreported injuries

Workers’ compensation does not cover unreported injuries. To be eligible for compensation, an injured employee must document and report the injury within a specific period of time. This does not cover injuries suffered during the commute to work or while performing duties that require travel. Unreported injuries may also not be covered if the injury was not caused by an unsafe working environment. Listed below are 10 of the most common unreported injuries.

Mental stress injuries

First responders are not typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because mental injuries are not related to physical injuries. However, more states are starting to recognize this type of injury. In Connecticut, for example, a Supreme Court decision in William D. Hart v. Federal Express Corp. found in favor of a FedEx driver with PTSD. While the law still has some gray areas, mental stress injuries are increasingly recognized as compensable.