Volunteer Worker Hurt on the “Job”

Under Utah’s workers compensation law, volunteer workers are not “employees” and are usually not covered by workers compensation insurance. If a volunteer worker gets hurt on the “job”, he or she would not receive workers compensation benefits.

In 2016, however, the Utah legislature passed a law allowing employers to include volunteers in their workers compensation coverage. Employers who obtain workers compensation coverage for their volunteer workers must post notice of this fact in the workplace and on its website where it recruits volunteers.

If you decide to volunteer for an organization or company, it would be wise to find out if workers compensation coverage is provided. If so, then you would likely go to WorkMed or WorkCare if you get hurt on the job and file a workers compensation claim. If not, then you would go to your own doctor and not file a workers comp claim.

Lastly, if the organization or company pays you for your work but still insists that you are a volunteer, you may need a lawyer’s help if you get hurt at the job. Sometimes companies try to avoid paying for workers compensation insurance by telling their workers they are volunteers. This tactic is called misclassifying employees. It is usually illegal and runs afoul of the Utah Workers Compensation Act and US Dept of Labor rules.

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