Can I File For Workers’ Compensation If I’m Only Part Time?

Workers’ compensation insurance applies to a variety of workers. Under North Carolina law, specific types of businesses are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Generally, all employees of these businesses are eligible for coverage. The only employees excepted from this requirement are:

  • employees of certain railroads;
  • casual employees, i.e., individuals who do not perform “work pertaining to the regular course of defendant’s business”;
  • domestic servants directly employed by the household;
  • farm laborers when fewer than 10 full-time, non-seasonal farm laborers are regularly employed by the same employer;
  • federal government employees in North Carolina; and
  • “sellers of agricultural products for the producers thereof on commission or for other compensation, paid by the producers, provided the product is prepared for sale by the producer.”

Even as a part time worker, if you do not fall within one of the above categories, you are eligible to file for workers’ compensation coverage as long as you are paid wages and taxes are deducted from your regular pay.

Scope Of Employment – Part-Time?

Aside from your employment status, there are numerous other factors that can affect your workers’ compensation eligibility. At the time of your injuries, you must be working within the scope of your employment in order to qualify for benefits. Scope of employment refers to employee actions that are completed in relation to the job. These actions must also be foreseeable by the employer.

Determining scope of employment is often a difficult task. There is much disagreement about which activities and actions fall into the designation. For example, if an employee leaves the office to run errands, and becomes injured in the process, is the injury within the scope of employment? In looking at these types of cases, courts generally consider the following factors:

  • Whether the incident occurred at the place of employment or within the time frame of employment;
  • Whether the incident occurred when the employee was performing tasks he was hired to perform; and
  • Whether the employee’s actions were motivated by the interests of the employer.

In the above example, the employee’s injuries will likely qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, as long as the employee was handling errands on behalf of the employer, within the scope of employment.

Questions over this designation also apply when injuries occur within the employer’s physical location. When determining eligibility, the employer and the insurance company will examine what actions were occurring at the exact time of the injury. Some examples where a person is physically at work, but acting outside of the scope of employment include:

  • Employees who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while at work – A drunk factory worker injures himself on a machine;
  • Employees that purposely or recklessly inflict their own injuries at work – An employee gets into a fight with another employee at work and becomes injured;
  • Employees who are playing around instead of working – An employee becomes injured while throwing a tool into the air and attempting to catch it;
  • Employees who are in the commission of a serious crime when the injury occurred  – An employee becomes injured while trying to steal money from a safe; and
  • Injuries suffered when an employee was in the process of violating company policy – A factory employee purposely uses a machine outside of the directed use, as outlined in company policies.

Our Charlotte NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers offer free consultations if you have questions regarding your situation.