Travel nurses are contractors with hospitals, but how does their employment status affect their eligibility for workers compensation? Keep reading for more information.
Workers Compensation Basics
If an employee is hurt on the job site due to an accident or negligence, they may be eligible for workers' compensation. Typically, employers pay for workers compensation insurance which protects them from significant financial liability while still providing a fund for injured workers.
There are eligibility requirements to receive workers comp. For example, the accident must have happened on work grounds. Employees cannot receive compensation for getting injured at home or another property. Additionally, workers may lose eligibility if the accident was the due to their own carelessness, intoxication, or intent to harm rather than the employer’s negligence.
Once an eligible employee files a claim, the employer and insurance career can agree that the injury is work related and either pay out the compensation amount or take the matter to court if they want to dispute the claim.
Court cases involving workers’ compensation disputes may involve the presentation of evidence like medical records, surveillance footage, and documentation to prove whether the employee is eligible and the degree to which the employer may have been negligent.
Workers’ compensation is a simple concept when applied to a typical employment arrangement, but what about contractors?
What Is a Contractor?
A contractor is a contracted employee who signs an agreement with an employer to work for a limited period and a set compensation amount. These contracted workers are often hired to work on a specific project or provide a unique service and can offer their skills for the short term rather than entering a full employee contract for the foreseeable future.
Independent contractors may provide:
- Medical services
- Legal services
- Translation services
- Customer service
- Internal reviews
- Data entry
- And more
Independent Contractors: Travel Nurses
A common type of contractor is the travel nurse. Travel nurses are independent contractors that sign a temporary contract with a hospital, medical practice, or hospital systems. Many hospitals use travel nurses to fill gaps in staffing or to supplement existing staff during high-volume times like the pandemic.
One of the primary benefits of hiring independent contractors is that the employer does not have to provide benefits in addition to compensation. While a travel nurse may make more in the short term, the hospital does not have to provide health or other benefits during their employment period.
For traveling nurses, their exposure to infectious diseases and hazardous conditions makes the lack of health benefits a pain point especially if they are hurt on the job. In most cases, the hospital does not include independent contractors in their workers comp policy which means travel nurses may not receive compensation for an accident.
So, You’ve Been Injured at Work…
If you are a travel nurse and have been injured while on site you may not be covered by the hospital’s official workers compensation policy, but you may be entitled to compensation. The Law Offices of Wax & Wax can assist nurses with workers' compensation claims. Our firm is experienced in workers compensation law and can advocate for your interests every step of the way.