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Fort Lauderdale Workers' Compensation Lawyer > Blog > Workers' Compensation > Nonprofit Organizations and Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Nonprofit Organizations and Workers’ Compensation Insurance


You might think that working for a nonprofit organization is the perfect escape from corporate America.  When it comes to workers’ compensation law, nonprofits are very similar to any other type of employer, regardless of business entity type.  Whether your employer is a corporation, an LLC, a nonprofit, or any other kind of business structure, the workers’ compensation rules are the same. Nonprofits that have paid employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay for the treatment of work injuries, just like any other kind of business with employees.  Likewise, the rules about one-time change of physicians, independent medical examiners, and statutory employers also apply to nonprofits, just like they do to for-profit companies.  If the nonprofit only has volunteers, though, it might not need to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  If you got injured at work and your employer is a nonprofit organization, contact a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.

Pamela and the Punchy Pooch

Pamela was an employee of Pawsitive Action, a nonprofit organization that focuses on training assistance dogs.  The organization’s activities also included educational programs for high school students who were training for careers as veterinary assistants.  At one such program on August 23, 2011, Pamela got injured when a dog bit her.  She filed a petition for benefits from her employer Pawsitive Action, but soon after, she voluntarily dismissed the claim, because Pawsitive action did not have workers’ compensation insurance.

Pamela also filed a claim against the high school where the veterinary assistant training session had taken place, as well as against the school district where the school was located.  The school and the county denied the claim; it reasoned that Pamela had failed to prove that she had an employment relationship with the high school.  Pamela then took the case to court, where she argued that the school should pay for her treatment on the grounds that it was her statutory employer.

In workers’ compensation law, a statutory employer is an entity that does not issue your paycheck but for which you were working at the time of your accident.  Many claims against statutory employers take place in the construction industry, where general contractors often subcontract aspects of the project to various other companies, and these subcontractors sometimes further subcontract the work.  If general contractor A hires company B as a subcontractor, and B hires company C, then if an employee of C gets injured at the work site, he should file a workers’ compensation claim with C.  If C does not have workers’ compensation insurance, then the employee can file a claim with B, and it will be B’s responsibility to pay; in other words, B counts as the statutory employer for workers’ compensation purposes.  If B also does not have workers’ compensation insurance, then A is the statutory employer.  When Pamela’s case reached the appeals court, it ruled that the high school was her statutory employer, so it was the school district’s responsibility to pay her workers’ compensation claim.

Let Us Help You Today

A Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get your treatment paid for if there is a dispute about which company is your statutory employer.  Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for help today.


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