Like other employees, teachers are generally eligible for workers compensation when they get injured or sick at work. Do you have a claim? Here’s what you need to know about workers comp for teachers:
As a teacher, you probably don’t think about the risk of getting injured or sick most days you go to work. But, getting injured or sick is a very real possibility, and many teachers miss time from work due to job-related injuries and illnesses. Fortunately, most school districts and private schools provide workers compensation for teachers.
Workers comp for teachers is similar to workers comp for other types of employees. This means that teachers can seek “no fault” medical, disability, and vocational rehabilitation benefits in many cases. But, it also means that collecting these benefits can be challenging, and teachers will often need to hire a legal team to help them collect the benefits they deserve. Keep reading to learn more:
- What are My Rights as a Public School Teacher When I Get Hurt or Sick at Work?
- What are My Rights as a Private School Teacher When I Get Hurt or Sick at Work?
- Common Teacher Injuries and Illnesses Covered By Workers Compensation
- FAQs: Workers Compensation for Teachers
School districts typically provide workers compensation for teachers who work in their schools. They buy insurance to cover teachers’ (and other school district employees’) workers compensation claims, and their insurance companies have a duty to process all claims in good faith.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Many teachers struggle to collect the benefits they deserve—even when they are clearly entitled to benefits. If you aren’t familiar with the requirements to obtain workers comp for teachers, you can also easily make mistakes that will result in a denial of coverage. Due to these concerns, it is strongly in your best interests to hire a lawyer to guide you through the workers compensation claim process.
Here are some of your key rights as a public school teacher when you get hurt or sick on the job:
- Right to Quality Medical Care – You have the right to quality medical care. Depending on the state in which you live and work, you may (or may not) be required to choose from a list of approved providers.
- Right to Workers Compensation Benefits – You have the right to workers compensation benefits if you have suffered a job-related injury or illness (with only very few exceptions). This includes injuries from accidents (i.e. slips and falls) and violence as well as illnesses from exposure to harmful substances (i.e. mold or lead paint) and certain biological hazards.
- Right to Get Help with Your Workers Comp Claim – You do not have to try to handle your claim on your own. Lawyers who handle workers compensation for teachers are available in all 50 states, and you can contact a local lawyer for free 24/7 through WorkInjurySource.com.
Private schools are subject to the same workers compensation requirements as other private employers. This means that most private schools are required by law to provide workers comp for teachers in their employ. Private school teachers and public school teachers generally have the same legal rights after suffering a job-related injury or illness—and they must generally take the same steps to secure benefits. These steps include:
- Report Your Injury or Illness – In order to file for workers compensation, you need to report your injury or illness to your employer. All states have reporting deadlines, and you must report your injury or illness on time in order to collect benefits.
- Get Treatment for Your Injury or Illness – You should see a doctor for treatment as soon as possible. However, as noted above, you may be required to choose from a list of approved doctors depending on where you live. A local lawyer can help if you aren’t sure where to go for treatment.
- Calculate Your Benefits – When you have a workers compensation claim, you need to make sure you accurately calculate your benefits (an attorney can help with this as well). If you don’t know how much you are entitled to receive, you will most likely end up with far less than you deserve.
Regardless of the type of school at which you work, it is best to hire an experienced attorney to help you if you’ve been injured or gotten sick on the job. In addition to handling your workers compensation claim, your attorney can determine if you have any other claims (i.e. Social Security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI)) as well. Your attorney can also help to maximize your benefits and help you make informed decisions about when, or if, to go back to school.
While teaching might not seem dangerous most of the time, the reality is that teachers face health and safety risks on a day-to-day basis. It only takes one unexpected incident to suffer a serious injury or illness. If you are a teacher and have been injured or gotten sick due to any of the following, you should speak with an attorney about your legal rights.
- Slip, trip, or fall (either inside or outside)
- Injury or illness during a school function or field trip
- Repetitive stress at work
- Exposure to mold, lead paint, or other toxic substances
- Exposure to COVID-19 or other illnesses
- Violence at school (including assaults by students and fights between students)
- Stress at work
This list is not exclusive—these are just some of the most-common reasons why teachers file for workers compensation. No matter what happened, if you think you might have a claim (or if you don’t know and want to find out), you should discuss your situation with an attorney promptly.
Does Workers Comp Cover Commuting Accidents for Teachers?
Commuting generally is not considered an activity “within the scope of employment” for purposes of workers compensation. However, if you were running school-related errands on the way to work or on the way home, then you could have a claim for benefits. Even if you don’t have a workers comp claim, a lawyer may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries from another source.
Does Workers Comp for Teachers Cover Loss of Income?
If you need to miss time from work due to a job-related injury or illness, your loss of income should be covered under workers compensation. This is the “disability” portion of workers compensation, and an attorney can determine whether you should apply for temporary or permanent disability benefits.
Can I Collect Workers Compensation Benefits if I Am Still Able to Teach?
You can collect medical benefits even if you don’t miss any time from work. Depending on the nature and severity of your injury or illness, an attorney may also be able to help you collect partial disability benefits if you are still able to teach.
How Do I Find a Lawyer Who Handles Workers Compensation for Teachers?
You can find a lawyer who handles workers compensation for teachers through WorkInjurySource.com. Our site is completely free to use, and you can get a free claim assessment from a local lawyer 24/7.