To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must be a covered employee, acting in the course of employment, who has sustained an injury or occupational disease.
“A covered employee” — The law recognizes there are hazards in all jobs, so workers’ compensation coverage is almost always required. Generally, if you are an employee, not an independent contractor, then you will be covered. There are some categories of employees who are excluded from coverage. Where coverage is not mandatory, the employer can elect to provide coverage. You should check with your employer to make sure you are covered.
“Acting in the course of employment” — To be covered, you must be doing a task at the direction of your employer, or for your employer’s business, at the time you are hurt. For example, if you are injured on your way to work you will not be covered, but if you are injured while making a delivery for your employer you will be covered.
“Injury” — An injury is defined as a sudden and tangible event of a traumatic nature, which results in a physical condition. You must be able to identify an event or occurrence which resulted in your injury.
“Occupational Disease” — An occupational disease is not caused by a sudden identifiable traumatic event. An occupational disease is a physical state that arises naturally from the conditions of employment, as opposed to being caused by conditions that exist in everyday life. There must also be a causal relationship between your illness and your job. Hearing loss from exposure to harmful levels of occupational noise is an example of an occupational disease.