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Workers' Compensation Laws by State

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for negligence. Every state has its own workers' compensation laws, which are contained in statutes, and vary somewhat from state to state. In addition, there are special workers' compensation laws for employees of the federal government, and still others for workers in specific types of industries such as railroad employees.

Under the law in most states, every business must have some form of workers' compensation insurance to cover injured employees. Filing a workers' compensation claim is similar to filing an insurance claim; it isn't a lawsuit against an employer, but rather a request for benefits.

The following information provides the basics of workers' compensation laws by state, including which employees are covered and any exceptions. Visit Findlaw's Workers' Compensation section to learn more.

Workers' Compensation Laws By State

State

State Workers' Comp Division

Workers' Compensation Statute

Covered Employees

Persons Not Covered

Alabama

Alabama Department of Labor

Alabama Code §25-5-1 et seq.

Most employees are covered.

  • Domestic servants
  • Farm laborers
  • Casual employees
  • Employees of business with less than five people
  • Licensed real estate brokers
  • Product demonstrators

Alaska

Department of Labor & Workforce Development

AS §23.30.005, et. seq

Most employees are covered including any person employed by the State or its political subdivision or a person
employing one or more persons in connection with a business or industry carried on in Alaska.

  • Part-time babysitters
  • Domestic servants
  • Harvest and similar transient help
  • Contract entertainers
  • Statutorily-defined taxi cab drivers
  • Statutorily defined
    commercial fishermen

Arizona

Industrial Commission of Arizona

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated §§ 23-901, et seq Every person in the
service of the state, any political subdivision, or any person in the service of any
employer subject to the workers' compensation provisions is considered to be an employee.
  • Casual employees or not in the usual course of a trade
  • Independent contractors

Arkansas

Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission

Arkansas Code Annotated § 11-9-101 et seq

Any person, including a minor, whether lawfully or unlawfully
employed under any contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied.

  • Agricultural farm laborers
  • State employees
  • Casual employees
  • Inmates

California

Department of Industrial Relations

California Labor Code Division 3, section 2700 through Division 4.7, section 6208

Every person in the service of an employer under any
appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written,
whether lawfully or unlawfully employed.

  • Domestic employees employed by his or her parent, spouse, or child
  • Deputy sheriffs or deputy
    clerks
  • Persons performing services in return for aid or sustenance only
  • Persons officiating
    amateur sporting events (including intercollegiate or interscholastic sports events)
  • Any person performing voluntary services at or for a non-profit recreational camp
    or as a ski patroller

Colorado

Department of Labor and Employment

Colorado Revised Statutes §
8-40-101, et seq

Every person in the service of any person, association of persons, firm, or private
corporation, under any contract of hire, express or implied, including aliens and also
including minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed.

  • Inmates
  • Volunteers
  • Drivers under a lease
    agreement with a common carrier or contract carrier

Connecticut

Workers' Compensation Commission

Connecticut General Statutes Sections 31-275 through 31-355a, et seq

Any person who has entered into or works under any contract of service
or apprenticeship with an employer.

  • Sole proprietor or business partners
  • Independent contractors
  • Casual employees

Delaware

Department of Labor

Delaware Code Annotated Title 19, §§ 2301-2397

Every person in service of any corporation, association, firm or
person under any contract of hire or performing services for a valuable consideration

  • A spouse
    and minor children of a farm employer if they are not named in an endorsement to the
    farm employer's contract of insurance
  • Casual employees
  • Any person to whom articles or materials are furnished or repaired, or adopted for
    sale in the employee's own home, or on the premises not under the control or
    management of the employer

District of Columbia

Department of Employment Services

District of Columbia Code Annotated §32-1501, et seq

Every person, including a minor, in the service of another under any
contract of hire or apprenticeship, written or implied,

  • An employee whose employer is an uninsured sub-contractor can assert a claim against
    the general contractor

Florida

Department of Financial Services

Chapter 440, Florida Statutes, et seq.

Every person in the service of any person, association of persons, firm, or private
corporation, under any contract of hire, express or implied, including aliens and also
including minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed.

  • Independent contractor (excluding the construction industry)
  • Licensed real estate brokers
  • Bands, orchestras, and musical and theatrical performers, including disc jockeys
  • Causal employees,
  • Volunteers (most)
  • Certain taxicab, limousine, or other passenger vehicle-for-hire drivers
  • Some sports officials

Georgia

Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation

Official Code of Georgia Annotated §§ 34-9-1, et seq

Employees of a business that employee three or more employees and some unpaid persons can be considered employees under limited circumstances.

  • Rail
    common carriers engaged in interstate or intrastate commerce
  • Farm laborers
  • Domestic
    servants
  • Licensed real estate salespeople or associate brokers
  • Independent
    contractors

Hawaii

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Hawai`i Revised Statutes, Chapter 386

Any
individual in the employment of another person.

  • Some exceptions for primary and secondary contractors

Idaho

Industrial Commission

Idaho Code § 72-101, et. seq.

Any person who has entered into
the employment or who works under contract of service or apprenticeship with, an
employer.

  • Domestic servants
  • Casual workers
  • Pilots of
    agricultural spraying or dusting planes
  • Real estate brokers and real estate
    salesmen
  • Volunteer ski patrollers
  • Officials of athletic contests involving secondary
    schools

Illinois

Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission

820 Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated 305/1, et seq.

Every person under the service of another or under a contract for hire. Certain businesses are considered "extra-hazardous" with all employees covered
automatically by law.

  • Real estate brokers/salespeople on commission
  • Farmers
  • Jurors

Indiana

Workers' Compensation Board of Indiana

Ind. Code § 22-3-1-1 et seq.

Every person, including minors, contractors or
apprenticeship, written or implied, except one whose employment is both casual and not
in the course of trade, business, occupation, or profession of the employer.

  • Railroad engineers, firemen, conductors, brakemen, flagmen, baggage men,
Foremen in charge of yard engines,
Employees of a fire or police department, of any municipality who
partake in a firefighter's or police officer's pension fund,
Casual laborers,
Farm or agricultural
employees,
Household employees.

Iowa

Iowa Workforce Development

Iowa Code §85.1 et seq.

All employees not specifically excepted are covered.

  • Household
    employees earning less than $1,500 during 12 months prior to an injury
  • Casual
    employees earning less than
    $1,500 for 12 consecutive months prior to an injury
  • Agricultural employees where the
    employer's nonexempt cash payroll is less than $2,500 for the preceding calendar year
  • Relatives of farm employer and employer's spouse
  • Officers of family farm
  • Some officers of a corporation

Kansas

Department of Labor

Kansas Statutes Annotated §44-501 et seq

Any person who has entered into the
employment of or works under any contract of service or apprenticeship with an
employer.

N/A

Kentucky

Kentucky Labor Cabinet

Kentucky Revised Statutes § 342.0011 et seq.; 803 Kentucky Administrative
Regulations. 25:009 et seq.

All persons, including minors, lawfully or unlawfully
employed under any contract of hire; helpers, paid or not, if hired with the knowledge of
the employer; corporate executive officers; volunteer fire, police, civil defense personnel or
trainees and members of the National Guard on active duty; newspaper sellers or
distributors

  • Domestic servants, if there are less than two
    regularly employed in a private home for 40 hours or less per week
  • Maintenance, repair
    and similar employees employed in a private home if the employer has no other
    employees subject to Workers' Comp

Louisiana

Louisiana Workforce Commission

Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated §23:1021 et seq.
Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated §33:2581
Most persons in an employment setting including all persons in the service of the state, or a political subdivision or of any incorporated
public board, or under any appointment or contract of hire.
  • Employees of private residential household
    and private unincorporated farms
  • Musicians
    and performers under contract

Maine

Workers' Compensation Board

Maine Revised
Statutes Annotated, title 39-A, or 39-A M.R.S.A. § 101 et seq.

Every person in the service of another under any contract of
hire, express or implied, oral or written."
  • Independent contractors
  • Persons engaged in maritime employment covered under admiralty law
  • Certain agricultural employees

Maryland

Workers' Compensation Commission

Maryland Code Ann., Lab & Empl. §9-101 (2014) et seq.; Code of Maryland Regulations
(COMAR) Title 14, §09.01.01 et seq.

Any regular payroll employee is a covered employee while in the service of an employer

  • Independent contractors
  • Various other persons employed

Massachusetts

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 152

Any person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written.

 

 

  • Masters of and seamen on vessels engaged in interstate or foreign commerce
  • Persons employed to participate in organized professional athletics
  • Real estate brokers and other sales people working on commission only
  • Persons employed by an employer engaged in interstate or foreign commerce but only so far as the laws of the United States provide for compensation
  • Casual employment

Michigan

Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated 418.101-941

Any employee "in the service of another, under any contract of
hire."
  • Exclusions for smaller employers
  • Some agricultural employees and domestic workers and real estate brokers/agents

Minnesota

Department of Labor and Industry

Minnesota Statutes Annotated Ch. 175A and 176, et seq.

Any person who performs services for another for hire.
  • Farmers or members of their family
    who exchange work with other farmers in the same community
  • Other various exceptions

Mississippi

Workers' Compensation Commission

Section 71-3-1 et. seq., MISS. CODE ANN

Any person, including a minor, whether lawfully or unlawfully
employed in the service of an employer under any contract of hire or apprenticeship,
written or oral, express or implied.

  • Independent contractors
  • Other various exceptions

Missouri

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Chapter 287 R.S.Mo. 2005

Any person in the service of an employer under contract of hire, appointment or election,
including officers of corporations.

  • Owner/operators of leased trucks in
    interstate commerce
  • Farm labor
  • Domestic servants
  • Family
    chauffeurs and licensed real estate agents
  • Inmates
  • Volunteers of tax exempt
    organizations
  • Sports officials,
  • Direct sellers

Montana

Department of Labor and Industry

Mont. Code Ann. § 39-71-101, et.seq

Most employed persons except for those listed in the statute.
  • Domestic servants
  • Casual employment
  • Dependent member of employer's family
  • Certain sole proprietors
  • Real estate brokers or salesmen
  • Direct sellers
  • Certain officials at athletic events
  • Freelance
    photographers and authors
  • Newspaper carriers
  • Cosmetologist or barber services
  • Petroleum land workers
  • Professionals; jockeys
  • Ordained ministers
  • Officer
    or manager of a ditch company
  • Persons working for enrolled tribal members who
    operate solely within the exterior boundaries of Indian reservations

Nebraska

Workers' Compensation Court

Nebraska Revised Statutes § 48-101 et. seq.

Employees of the state, every
governmental agency created by it, and every employer in Nebraska, including nonresident
employers performing work in the state employing one or more employees in the
regular trade, business, profession, or vocation of such employer

  • Domestic servants
  • Agricultural operations employees
  • Employees of railroad companies
    engaged in interstate or foreign commerce

Nevada

Department of Business & Industry

Nev. Rev. Stat. Chapters 616A-616D, Nev. Rev. Stat. Chapter 617

Every person in the service of an employer under any appointment or contract of hire or
apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed.

  • Casual employees
  • Theatrical or stager performers
  • Musicians whose services do not last more than two consecutive days
  • Domestic workers
  • Voluntary ski patrol
  • Sports officials paid a nominal fee
  • Any member of clergy
  • Real estate brokers
  • Direct sales persons working on commission

New Hampshire

Workers' Compensation Division

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated 281-A

Any person in the service
of an employer under any express or
implied, oral or written, contract of hire

  • Railroad employee engaged in
    interstate commerce
  • Direct
    sellers
  • Real estate brokers, agents or appraisers
  • People providing services as
    part of a residential placement for individuals with developmental, acquired or
    emotional disabilities

New Jersey

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

New Jersey Statutes Annotated 34:15-1 et seq.

Most employees are covered with some exceptions.

  • Independent contractors
  • Domestic workers
  • Employee who is willfully negligent
  • Inmates
  • Causal employees

New Mexico

Workers' Compensation Administration

New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act, New Mexico Statutes Annotated §§52-1-1, et
seq

Most employees are covered.
  • Farm employees
  • Domestic servants
  • Real estate agents
  • Persons who file a written waiver with the State of New
    Mexico

New York State

Workers' Compensation Board

Workers' Compensation Law of the State of New York

Most employees in the State of New York

  • Domestic employees working less than 40 hours
    per week
  • Clergymen
  • Employees of municipalities and other political subdivisions who
    are not engaged in hazardous employment
  • Uniformed sanitation workers, firefighters and
    police officers in the employment of the City of New York
  • Babysitters and minors over
    the age of 14 engaged in casual employment in and about one-family
  • Longshoremen and harbor workers
  • Railroad employees
  • Anyone engaged in yard work or household chores or making
    repairs or painting in and about a one-family owner-occupied residence

North Carolina

Industrial Commission

N.C. Gen. Stat. §97

Any person engaged in employment under any employment or
contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, including aliens and
also including minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed.

  • Casual employees and those not in the course of the trade, business, profession
    or occupation of his or her employer

North Dakota

Workforce Safety and Insurance

North Dakota Century Code Title 65 (Chapters 65-01 through 65-10)

Every person who performs services for another
for pay including all elected and appointed officials of the state and its
political subdivisions, the legislative assembly, elective officials of the state's counties, and
all elective peace officers of any city and aliens, county general assistance workers, and minors.

  • Independent contractors
  • Casual employees
  • Any person who is engaged in an illegal enterprise or occupation
  • Spouse or child under
    the age of 22, of the employer
  • Real estate broker or real estate salesperson
  • Members of the board of directors of a business corporation
  • Newspapers delivery persons

Ohio

Bureau of Workers' Compensation

Ohio Revised Code §4121.01 et. seq.
Ohio Administrative Code §4121-01 et. seq.

Any person in the service of the state, or any county or municipal
corporation, and any person in the service of any person, firm, private or public
corporation that employs one or more employees or operatives regularly in the same
business or in or about the same establishment under any contract of hire, express or
implied, oral or written

N/A

Oklahoma

Workers' Compensation Court

Okla. Stat. tit. 85, §§ 301-413

Any person engaged in the employment of an employer covered by the terms of the Workers' Compensation Code including members of the Oklahoma National Guard and participants in a sheltered workshop program certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

  • Horticulture employees not employed in using motorized machines
  • Licensed real estate brokers
  • Employees providing services in medical care or social services program
  • Anyone employed by employer with less than five employees all related by blood or marriage
  • Employees of youth sports leagues qualifying as tax-exempt
  • Sole proprietors
  • Volunteers
  • Owner-operators who lease tractor-trailers or trucks for hire
  • Domestic servants in private home

Oregon

Workers' Compensation Division

Workers'
Compensation Law. Or. Rev. Stat. § 656.001

Any person, including a minor, whether lawfully or unlawfully
employed, who works for pay, including salaried, elected and appointed officials of the
state, state agencies, counties, cities, school districts and other public corporations.

  • Inmate or ward of a state
    institution
  • Casual employees

Pennsylvania

Bureau of Workers' Compensation

Worker's Compensation Act of June 24, 1996, P.L. 350, No. 57 All natural persons who perform services for another for a valuable
consideration
  • Casual employees

Rhode Island

Department of Labor & Training

R.I. Gen. Laws. 27-7.1-1, et. seq.;

Any person who has entered into the employment of or works under the
contract of service or apprenticeship with any employer. Any person employed by the State of
Rhode Island
  • Sworn employees employed by the State of Rhode Island
  • Casual employees
  • Farmers
  • Nursery workers
  • Farm laborers
  • Real estate brokers
  • Sales persons

South Carolina

Workers' Compensation Commission

S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-110 et seq.

Every person engaged in
employment under any appointment, contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied,
oral or written including members of the State and National Guard

  • Casual employees

South Dakota

Department of Labor and Regulation

SDCL Title 62

Every person, including a minor, in the services of another under
any contract of employment, express or implied.

  • Volunteers
  • Independent contractors
  • Domestic servants working less than 20 hours in any
    calendar week and for more than six weeks in any thirteen week period
  • Farm or
    agricultural laborers

Tennessee

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

T.C.A. § 50-6-101, et seq

 

Every person under contract of hire or apprenticeship, written or
implied, including a paid corporate officer

  • Some undocumented workers

Texas

Department of Insurance

Texas Labor Code Annotated § 401.001 et. seq

Persons in the service of another under a contract of hire including anyone working in the usual course and scope of the employer's business who is temporarily asked
to perform services outside the usual course and scope of the business and persons who are trainees under the Texans Work program.

  • Independent contractors
  • Federal employees
  • Other excluded persons

Utah

Labor Commission

Utah Code Annotated §34A-2-101, et seq. Employees include those engaged in government service, any express or implied contract
of hire, lessees of mining property, and owners of a partnership or sole proprietorship if
an election is made.
  • Real estate agents or brokers

Vermont

Department of Labor Vermont Statutes Annotated title 21, § 601 et seq

Persons who are employed works under a
contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer

  • Casual employees
  • Persons engaged in amateur sports
  • Persons engaged in farm or
    agricultural employment for an employer with an aggregate payroll of less that $10,000
    per year
  • Members of an employer's family dwelling in the employer's house
  • Persons
    engaged in any type of service in or about a private dwelling
  • Sole proprietors or
    partners/owners of an unincorporated business
  • Real
    estate broker or real estate salespersons
  • Certain members of a corporation or LLC
  • Independent contractors
  • Assistant judges
  • Illegally
    hired minors

Virginia

Workers' Compensation Commission

Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, Title 65.2 Code of Virginia 1950

Persons, including aliens and
minors, in the service of another under any contract of hire or apprenticeship, written or
implied, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed
  • Persons whose employment is not within the usual course of the employer's business

Washington

Department of Labor and Industries

RCW 51.04.010 to 51.98.080

Employees, and independent
contractors, the essence of whose contract is his or her personal labor including all officers of the state, state agencies,
counties, municipal corporations, or other public corporations, or political subdivisions.

  • Certain workers for businesses registered within the Registration of Contractors or licensed Electricians and Electrical Installations
  • Domestic servants
  • Home gardening and
    maintenance workers
  • Employees not in the course of the trade, business, or profession of
    the employer
  • Services performed in return for aid or sustenance
  • Sole proprietors or
    partners
  • Minor children employed by parents for agricultural activities on the
    family farm
  • Jockeys
  • Certain officers of a corporation
  • Entertainers for specific
    performances
  • Newspaper delivery
  • Services performed by an insurance producer
  • Services performed by a booth renter, and certain LLC activities

West Virginia

Offices of the Insurance Commission

W. Va. Code § 23-1-1 et seq.

All persons in
the service of employers and employed by them for the purpose of carrying on the
industry, business, service or work in which they are engaged

  • Domestic servants,
  • Employers of five or fewer full-time employees engaged in agricultural service
  • Church workers
  • Casual employees
  • Employees engaged in organized professional sports activities, including
    employers of trainers and jockeys engaged in thoroughbred horse racing
  • Volunteer rescue or police
  • Federal employees

Wisconsin

Department of Workforce Development

Wis. Stat. §102.01-.89 (2011)

Most workers and contract workers

  • Domestic servants
  • Most volunteers

Wyoming

Department of Workforce Services

Wyoming Statutes § 27-14-101, et seq

Any person engaged in any extra hazardous
employment under any appointment, contract of hire, or apprenticeship, express or
implied, oral or written, and includes legally employed minors, aliens authorized to work
by the United States DOJ.

  • Casual employees
  • Sole proprietors
  • Officer of a corporation
  • Independent contractors
  • Professional athletes
  • Employee in a private home
  • Federal government employees
  • Elected officials
  • Volunteers
  • Members of LLCs
  • Foster parents
  • Childcare workers who are paid by the Wyoming Dept. of Family Services

Get Free Legal Help From a Workers' Comp Attorney

Workplace injuries can result in time off work, medical bills, and other complications -- but your employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance for such events. It can all be quite confusing, particularly if your injuries are severe. If you have suffered an injury on the job and are in need of skilled legal assistance with a potential workers' compensation claim, you can have your claim reviewed absolutely free and with no obligations.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified workers' compensation attorney to make sure
your rights are protected.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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