Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organizations. Non-profits couldn’t get by without the hard work of dedicated people who are committed to the work without getting paid. Of course, even though volunteers don’t get paid, they can still be injured while giving their time. So, what happens if you get injured while volunteering? You have a couple of options.
First, get medical treatment for your injury. Once you are safe, make report to the director of the organization. Try to put it in writing, even if it’s just a follow-up email or text to the person in charge. It can be difficult to ask a non-profit to pay your medical bills, but it’s only fair when you’re injured while volunteering.
Use Your Own Health Insurance
For minor injuries, you might simply want to go to the doctor and use your personal health insurance. Because you’re not an employee, you don’t have workers’ compensation benefits from the organization. Generally, most non-profits don’t add a policy that protects their volunteers under workers’ comp.
Use the Organization’s General Liability Policy
Most non-profits have general liability insurance that covers accidents and injuries to people who are not employed by the organization. This would include visitors, vendors and volunteers. For serious injuries, you may want to be reimbursed for your medical bills. You would have to make a claim. Most likely, it is the director who will deal with the insurance company, but at some point the insurance company may offer you a settlement.
What Happens If You Believe You Aren’t Treated Fairly?
If the insurance company makes a settlement offer that seems low, you can try to negotiate with the insurance company. Alternatively, you may also hire a personal injury attorney to handle the negotiations for you. Although we’d like to think that the insurance company will take care of the organization’s volunteers, generally, the insurance company looks out for their best interests. That is to only pay the lowest amount.
Your personal injury attorney usually only charges a fee if and when the claim is settled. You won’t be charged for the initial consultation. This gives you and the attorney a chance to discuss your case and decide what the next best steps are. It’s possible that the insurance company did offer a fair settlement. There may state laws that outline your compensation based on whether the accident was your partially or fully your fault. You may have deadlines to file a lawsuit against the organization, so don’t wait too long to discuss your situation with an attorney, like a worker’s compensation attorney in Queens, NY, today.
Thank you to the experts at Polsky, Shouldice, and Rosen, P.C. for their input into worker’s compensation law.