When Injured Abroad on the Job – Who Pays?

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Within the past few decades, more and more corporations are conducting international business. According to a Wells Fargo survey, 47 percent of U.S. companies expect their profits from international business activity to increase this year. Some have branch offices abroad, others have manufacturing plants abroad and others simply send workers out to negotiate contracts and conduct business with foreign entities.

It stands to reason with the law of averages that workers can, and will, be injured on the job while working abroad. So who pays for any treatment and further compensation that is the direct result of those injuries?

boardwalk.The Best Advice? Contact an Attorney in Your Home State

By saying ‘in your home state’ it is assumed that your employer is registered to do business in the state where you reside. However, there may be times when you live in one state and your employer is registered across the border in another state. This is often the case with New York and New Jersey where workers commute every day of the week. So, for the sake of example, your company is registered in New Jersey but you live on Long Island. In this case, you would contact workers compensation lawyers in NJ because that is the state in which your company has workers compensation insurance coverage.

Are Injuries Abroad Covered on Domestic Workers Comp Insurance?

This could be a sticky question and one which only a lawyer could answer with any certainty. It depends on the wording in that particular policy as well as any state statutes governing what constitutes being ‘on the job.’ Are you covered abroad? You may or may not be under workers comp but your employer would probably be legally obligated to carry insurance coverage for employees who travel as part of their job. Within the US, chances are you would be covered. Abroad? That isn’t always clear and would take legal representation to check through the contingencies and special stipulations.

What to Look for in a Workers Compensation Lawyer

The first thing you should always seek is one who handles your claim on a contingency basis. To do anything else would be less than ethical, simply because this is how it is generally done. Also, look for an attorney with a high rate of success, especially in high profile corporate cases. If they have been in business any length of time, you can be certain they have a solid history of winning. No attorney could stay solvent for any length of time if they didn’t win. That’s how they get paid!

So the long answer is, state and federal regulations determine who pays for injuries sustained abroad, and the laws aren’t always clear to the layman. The short answer would be, your lawyer knows, so ask him. To do anything other than contracting a workers compensation attorney would be foolish, especially when injured on the job on foreign soil. There are too many legalities to sort through which could leave you without the just compensation you deserve. A good lawyer with a long history of winning is your best bet, so start there.

Boris Dzhingarov is a business writer who investigates issues to craft great stories that readers love.