In Pennsylvania, volunteers generally are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This is because of the way the state defines an employee. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (PWCA) states that “all natural persons who perform services for another for a valuable consideration…” is an employee. That means most volunteers are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage.
However, several types of volunteers are included in the definition of “employee” as it pertains to the Workers’ Compensation Act of Pennsylvania. These include:
- Volunteer firefighters
- Members of volunteer ambulance corps
- Volunteers working for the State Parks and Forest Programs
- Volunteers with a hazardous materials response team
The PWCA considers these individuals employees of their municipalities. That means that if a volunteer rescue worker sustained an injury while in the course of doing his/her volunteer work, he/she may be able to obtain compensation for the wages they could not earn because of their volunteering. Even if they don’t work they get wages.
How Do I Obtain Benefits?
The first step is to notify the person in charge. Report what happened as well as why it is related to any duties performed. You have 120 days from the injury to report the incident, but it is best not to delay. It’s the municipality’s insurance that compensates.
What is Covered?
Injuries suffered as a result of the volunteer activities include broken bones, bodily injuries, burns, abrasions, etc. In addition, permanent injuries and/or disfigurement may be subject to additional benefits.
What Should Other Volunteers Do After an Accident?
If you are a volunteer who sustained injuries during your volunteer work, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. This is especially important if the accident was caused due to negligence. I am a personal injury lawyer and a certified expert in PA workers’ compensation. I can help you seek compensation for your expenses and wages lost due to an accident as well as your pain and suffering. I’m ready to review cases for clients throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties.