Workers' Compensation And Live-In Nannies: Can You Sue If You Are Injured (And Then Fired)?
Live-in nannies are provided housing and/or food and a monthly stipend to care for a family's children. Health insurance is typically not offered as a benefit, although some families find a way to help their nannies cover the cost of clinic visits for minor illnesses. As for major injuries that can occur when taking care of children, employers do not always take responsibility. If you work as a live-in nanny, and you were badly injured and then fired because you could not perform some of your job duties due to your accident, you may be wondering if you can file for workers' compensation. Here is what the law says about nannies, other "domestics," and workers' compensation.
Your Employer May or May Not Be Required to Carry Workers' Compensation
The requirement for homeowners and employers of domestic help to carry workers' compensation insurance varies from state to state. There are some states that require all employers, regardless of type and regardless of the type of employees they hire, to carry workers' compensation for their employees. Other states have limited coverage, coverage for full-time employees only or do not require it but suggest that your employer carry it. (It is advisable that before you take a position that is offered you, be sure to ask your employer about medical and health coverage, including workers' compensation.) Depending on where you reside and work, you may not be able to get workers' compensation or ask your employer to file a claim. In that case, you may have to sue your employer for any medical bills that resulted from an injury while living and working with the family (if your employer refuses to cover your bills and especially if your employer fires you as well).
When Your Employer Does Offer Workers' Compensation but Refuses to File a Claim
When you do take a position as a live-in nanny and your employer does offer workers' compensation benefits, he or she does so at a major personal expense. His/her homeowner's insurance may also increase because of the risks involved with having an employee under his/her roof. (In some states, homeowner's insurance may take the place of workers' compensation as a means of paying for accidental injuries on the property, but it is not and does not work the same as workers' compensation.)
As such, you may have an employer who could have filed a workers' compensation claim for you but refused, or you may have an employer who filed a claim and it was denied. When he/she fired you on top of it, you may have a workers' compensation case layered on top of an employment law case and/or a breach of contract case. Consult with your workers' compensation lawyer to determine how to best approach your particular situation.
Speak with professionals like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP for more help.