With the busy summer season comes a ton of seasonal jobs, particularly at the New Jersey shore. While many seasonal jobs are part-time, some employers need full-time workers, but only for part of the year.
What happens if you get injured on the job while working for a seasonal employer? Can you still obtain workers’ compensation benefits? The answer may surprise you.
In general, seasonal workers qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
At the New Jersey workers’ compensation law firm of Petro Cohen, P.C, we represent injured workers in all types of workers’ comp claims, including ones involving seasonal employees. Our dedicated team of attorneys has over 100 years of experience helping injured workers pursue the benefits they need and deserve following a serious on-the-job accident.
Are Seasonal Employees at Higher Risk of Injury?
While there has not been a comprehensive study suggesting that seasonal employees suffer a higher rate of injury than year-round employees, it stands to reason that they do. Seasonal employees typically only work a few months out of the year. Thus, they may not have the training or experience necessary to safely do the job. Additionally, seasonal employees often occupy traditionally dangerous jobs, such as those involving
- Snow removal,
- Travel and tourism,
- Water sports,
- Manual labor, and
If you suffered injuries as a seasonal employee, you may not know your rights under New Jersey workers’ compensation laws. Our attorneys are here to help you in any way we can.
How Seasonal Employees Can Prove a Workers’ Compensation Claim
While seasonal employees qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, benefits are not guaranteed. To be eligible for benefits, you must be an employee and not an independent contractor. Typically, if your employer assigns you work, tells you how to complete the work, and supervises your work directly, you are an employee. However, if your employer gives you an assignment and lets you complete it any way you see fit, you may be an independent contractor. Additionally, employees perform work that is integral to an employer’s day-to-day business, while independent contractors typically perform one-off and tangential tasks.
While the line between the two is clear in some situations, that is not always the case. For example, a landscaper could be an independent contractor or an employee, depending on the above factors.
Once you determine you are an employee, the next step is to assess whether your injury is work-related. This is important to ascertain because only on-the-job injuries qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, in this context, the term “work-related” is both broader and narrower than you may expect. For example, if you suffer injuries in a car accident on your way to work, it would seem your injuries are work-related. However, in this example, you almost certainly will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. (You may have a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, but that is not the same as a workers’ compensation claim). This is because the law does not consider your commute to work as part of your job in most cases.
However, suppose you are a pizza delivery person. If you get into a car wreck while delivering pizzas as part of your job duties, then you may have a valid workers’ comp claim. The difference between these two examples is the basic question of whether or not you were actively performing your work duties at the time of injury.
You do not have to have a traumatic injury to qualify for workers’ comp either. There are many jobs, both year-round or seasonal, that can result in repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or respiratory issues that arise from continued exposure to chemicals. These illnesses don’t happen from a one-time traumatic incident but arise over time through continued stress or exposure. Seasonal employees can benefit from workers’ comp if they can show that these illnesses stem from their seasonal work.
Can Part-Time Seasonal Workers Qualify for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Just as year-round and seasonal employees can receive workers’ comp benefits, so too can full-time and part-time workers. So, even if you only work a few hours a week at a seasonal job, you may still qualify for benefits. Of course, the amount of benefits you receive will be based on your part-time income.
Many seasonal workers have a full-time job and pick up a part-time seasonal job on the side. If this describes your situation, you will receive benefits based on whichever job resulted in your injuries. So, under New Jersey workers’ comp laws, if you are hurt while working at your part-time job, you will receive benefits based on that income, even if your injuries prevent you from working at either job.
Make Sure You Have an Experience Workers’ Comp Attorney By Your Side
Workers’ compensation laws can be complex, especially for seasonal workers. If you were hurt while employed as a seasonal worker, reach out to a dedicated New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer at Petro Cohen, P.C. to discuss your options.
Petro Cohen has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ compensation. Since 2011, Petro Cohen, P.C. has been named among Best Law Firms in America® in Atlantic City for Workers’ Compensation. Frank Petro has received the highest rating (AV) from Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials (the AV rating is only for lawyers considered the top in their field). Since 1995, Frank Petro has been named every year on the Best Lawyers in America® list for Workers’ Compensation. Additionally, Frank Petro has been named to the NJ Super Lawyers® list since 2005 in the practice area of workers’ compensation. He is also certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Workers’ Compensation Law Attorney, the highest specialty certification available to workers’ compensation attorneys in New Jersey, and has held this certification since its inception in 1998.
The hard working attorneys at Petro Cohen take great pride in helping hard working people just like you. The workers’ comp team of lawyers has over 100 years of combined experience, having successfully handled tens of thousands of litigated workers’ compensation cases throughout New Jersey. This experience and winning track record means you have a law firm that make workers’ compensation work for you.
For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your seasonal work injury or any other type of workplace injury, call Petro Cohen, P.C. today at 888-675-7607.