Are Volunteers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Posted by: Chris

The workers’ compensation system in Oklahoma is designed to provide benefits to people who have sustained work-related injuries. This system covers most workers within the state of Oklahoma, however there are some exceptions. Are volunteers entitled to workers’ compensation benefits--or are they one of the exceptions? Here’s what you need to know:

Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Volunteers

The vast majority of volunteers are not covered by the workers’ compensation system, which means they cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured as a result of their volunteer work.

There are some exceptions to this rule. The law states that volunteer firefighters, peace officers, or other emergency management workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even though they are not compensated for their volunteer work.

These volunteers have all of the same rights and responsibilities as other injured workers. This means volunteers that are covered are responsible for reporting their injuries as soon as possible. Like other injured workers, volunteers also have the right to treat their injuries promptly. After seeing a doctor, volunteers are responsible for attending all follow-up appointments and following the doctor’s orders.

Calculating Benefits For Injured Volunteers

Workers’ compensation benefits are typically calculated using the average weekly wage of the injured worker. But, what if the worker is an uncompensated volunteer who qualifies for benefits? Since volunteers are not paid for their work, their benefits are calculated using their average weekly wages from their full-time job.

For example, let’s say a volunteer firefighter is paid a salary of $40,000 for his full-time job. He is injured while volunteering as a firefighter, and is entitled to temporary total disability benefits, which equal 70% of his average weekly wage. His average weekly wage will be calculated using the $40,000 salary since he is not compensated for his volunteer work. Therefore, he is entitled to roughly $538 per week, which is approximately 70% of his average weekly wage for the year.

But remember, this only applies to the select group of volunteers that are covered by the workers’ compensation system. Volunteers that are not covered are not entitled to any workers’ compensation benefits.

Have you been injured at work? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. as soon as possible. Our experienced attorneys will review your case to determine if your injury is compensable. If it is, we will ensure you are awarded the benefits you deserve.  Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.