In general, volunteers cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota. There are some specific exceptions to this rule. If you were injured while volunteering, read this list and then talk to a lawyer if you believe you may qualify for benefits. Without benefits, you could be stuck paying medical costs and losing wages.
Minnesota law lists a number of volunteers who can receive workers’ compensation. They include:
- Volunteers in prisons whose volunteer service meets certain requirements
- Volunteers doing emergency management, who are registered with the state and acting under its direction
- Volunteers for a program established by a local social services agency
- Volunteers for the commissioner of natural resources in Minnesota
- Volunteers for joint labor-management nonprofit community service projects, doing building and construction
- Active military members meeting specific requirements
- Volunteers for the Minnesota Historical Society
- Volunteers at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf or the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind
- Volunteers at Minnesota veterans homes
- Volunteers who perform volunteer ambulance driver or attendant services
- Volunteers at the Minnesota Department of Administration
- Volunteers for the Pollution Control Agency
- First responder volunteers or members of a law enforcement assistance organization
- Volunteers for the civil air patrol rendering service
- Minnesota Responds Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers
This is a very long list of volunteer positions, and the law provides even more detail about exactly which volunteers can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, the volunteers listed above must be working under the direction and control of the state agency or program when they are injured. They cannot get benefits if they are injured when not volunteering.
Usually, volunteers who qualify will receive wage-loss benefits at the pay rate that an employee performing the same tasks would have received. Of course, the workers’ compensation insurance company will want to pay as few benefits as possible, so it may underestimate what the volunteer would have earned if paid.
If you believe that you fall into one of the volunteer categories listed above, you need to speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer. Your lawyer can evaluate the work you did and the benefits you may be entitled to receive. Then your lawyer can help you get benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Are you struggling to get benefits because you worked as a volunteer when you got injured? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.