Can Seasonal Workers Get Workers’ Compensation?
October 21, 2022
Many workers in Washington State are classified as seasonal workers. Seasonal workers are employees who are hired for a limited portion of the year to work for a business that is only open for part of the year or to help a business accommodate seasonal demand. Workers are then let go by the employer at the end of the season, although they may be rehired by the same employer at the start of the next season. Seasonal workers often work in industries such as the tourism and hospitality industries, agriculture, and holiday retail workers.
However, seasonal workers can be injured in their seasonal job like any other full-time worker. But can seasonal workers get workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury like a full-time employee?
Are Seasonal Workers Entitled to Workers’ Comp?
The short answer is that seasonal workers are eligible to receive workers’ comp for a work-related injury. A seasonal worker does not need to work a minimum amount of time in a job to become eligible for benefits. Eligibility starts on the first day of employment.
Seasonal Workers Have Higher Risks of On-the-Job Injuries
Unfortunately, seasonal workers face a higher statistical risk of being injured at work than full-time or year-round employees. This is attributed to the fact that seasonal workers may not have the training and experience that a year-round employee might have. Seasonal workers also work multiple jobs in the year, sometimes at the same time, and therefore need to mentally shift from one workplace to another. Seasonal workers also work in many fast-paced jobs in workplaces with unique hazards.
Available Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In Washington State, the workers’ compensation system is administered directly by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries, although a few employers choose to self-insure for workers’ compensation. Benefits available under workers’ comp include:
- Time loss benefits, which provides partial reimbursement of lost wages if you miss time from work. Benefits are equal to 60 to 75 percent of your pre-injury average weekly wage, with the exact percentage based on your marital status and number of dependents. Benefits are also subject to minimum floors and maximum caps set by the state. If you earn less by working in a lower-paying position due to medical restrictions imposed by your injuries, you can receive up to 80 percent of the difference between your current and pre-injury wages.
- Permanent partial disability benefits, which provide financial payments if you suffer a permanent loss of bodily function but can still return to gainful employment. Payments are based on the body part or bodily function affected and the degree of impairment. Benefits may be paid as a single lump sum, although larger benefits amounts can be paid over time.
- Permanent total disability pension, which continues time loss benefits for as long as you remain unable to do any kind of work due to a severe disability or impairment.
- Medical benefits, which pay for reasonable and necessary treatment and rehabilitation of your injury, along with reimbursement of certain eligible travel costs to and from medical appointments and procedures.
- Death benefits, which provides a contribution towards funeral and burial expenses plus monthly pension for a worker’s dependents if a worker passes away due to a work injury or occupational illness.
What Happens to Benefits at the End of the Season?
Seasonal workers who do not work in the offseason will lose their time loss benefits at the end of the season. However, workers who have other jobs in the offseason but cannot perform them due to their work injury may be entitled to time-loss benefits for the income they could have earned. All other workers’ comp benefits continue following the end of the season.
Contact a Rochester Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Workplace Injury Case in Washington State
Were you or a loved one injured due to a workplace accident in Washington State? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive workers’ compensation attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Smith Duran represents clients injured in Olympia, Lakewood, Auburn, and University Place. Call (360) 273-5941 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 10118 Highway 12 SW, Rochester, WA, 98579, as well as offices in Tacoma.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
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