As the election season winds to close, the word still continues for many poll workers—as it has for months now leading up to Election Day. Poll workers have a lot to do before and after Election Day. In that time, there are a number of things that can go wrong, including injury or illness to the poll worker.
If a poll worker gets injured or becomes ill in the course of their job, more often than not poll workers are unlikely to receive workers’ compensation for their injuries for several reasons, which we’ll explore below.
Is there a relationship between poll workers and the county?
This is the biggest question that pops up when a poll worker wants to file a workers’ comp claim. The most common argument is that these workers are public service officers—not county employees—meaning they’re not entitled to workers’ compensation like other local and state employees.
Worker vs. volunteer
A second argument is whether or not poll workers are considered employees or volunteers. Some states have statutes that allow volunteers to have workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if an organization employs 3 or more people, then they may be required to offer workers’ comp, even to the volunteers.
Another important factor in determining workers’ comp for poll workers is whether or not they’re paid for their services.
Thirdly, until poll workers have completed their training, they’re not yet considered “employees.” One exception would be if the injury forces them to be absent from working at the polls, then that should be covered.
An additional gray area pops up when considering the location of the polls. An injured Georgia worker is legally entitled to compensation if they’re injured on the work premises. In the case of the election, there are several different locations that host the polls, such as schools, churches and community centers.
Once the polls are closed, the completed ballots have to be transported to a different location for counting—often a public library or police station—which are also not properties owned by the county or state government.
Moreover, training also occurs at a variety of locations not technically owned by the employer, which presents a further legal hurdle.
A large part in determining the amount of compensation a worker is awarded comes from the wages they’ve earned. In the case of a poll worker, this can be difficult to determine and varies by state, or even county.
Poll workers aren’t guaranteed to have the job when the next election comes around and they often receive minimal income for their labor, all of which make it tricky to determine whether or not a poll worker is covered.
Furthermore, even if they’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, they often make so little that they won’t receive enough to cover medical costs or wages lost.
Get compensation through premises liability law
If a poll worker is injured and isn’t considered an employee, they may not be entitled to workers’ comp. Instead, they might be able to file a premises liability claim against the property owner, which can help if they’re injured at the polling place by a hazardous condition.
Contact experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys
Other options may be available to poll workers if they’re injured while performing a work duty. However you were injured on the job, consider contacting an experienced Georgia work injury attorney at Gerber & Holder to discover your legal options for recovering compensation for their injury.
Our team has represented injured workers for over 30 years. We will take the time to review your case and create a roadmap of what to expect if you decide to file a claim.