Employers in the state of Pennsylvania are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage for all employees. Using workers’ compensation, employees can receive compensation for the medical care they need because of a work-related injury and can recover a portion of the wages they lost while not working. While a company’s paid employees are covered by this insurance, what happens if a company also has volunteers?
Whether a volunteer is covered by workers’ compensation or not depends on what type of organization they are providing services for. Many non-profit organizations rely on the work of volunteers and, as a result, they consider them to be workers. Yet, volunteers are not typically provided with the same workers’ compensation benefits that paid workers receive.
The lack of workers’ compensation for volunteers is thanks to the way the commonwealth’s law defines an employee. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (PWCA) says that “all natural persons who perform services for another for a valuable consideration..." is an employee. Because of this, most volunteers are not eligible for workers’ compensation.
However, there are a select group of volunteers who can receive workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.
What Volunteers Receive Workers’ Compensation in PA
Volunteers who provide emergency response services in the state of Pennsylvania are provided workers’ compensation coverage. The PWCA identifies these individuals as employees of their municipalities who qualify for benefits.
Because of this, volunteers in PA who qualify for workers’ compensation include:
- Volunteer firefighters
- Members of volunteers first response teams
- Volunteer rescue workers
- Volunteers who work in state parks and forests
This means that the types of volunteers listed above could receive compensation for the medical care they needed because of an injury they suffered while doing their volunteer work. Notably, these volunteers might even qualify for wage compensation even though they weren’t making money at the time of their injury. For example, if a volunteer rescue worker sustained an injury that stopped them from doing their regular paying job, they might be able to obtain compensation for the wages they lost the ability to earn because of their volunteering.
What Should Injured Volunteers Do After an Accident?
In short, Pennsylvania volunteers don’t qualify for workers’ compensation unless they fall under specific categories listed in the commonwealth’s law. If you’re a volunteer who sustained injuries and you have a workers’ compensation question, call Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC for help. The best option for you might be to file a personal injury claim, especially if negligence from a third party was a factor in causing your injury. We’ve been helping Pennsylvanians obtain the compensation they deserve for nearly 100 years. We have an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation law and is prepared to help you discover what your options are.
Call our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers today at (888) 498-3023 to find out if we can help you at no cost.