Due to a shortage of permanent, full-time nurses, many Vermont hospitals employee travel nurses to work in Vermont on temporary contracts arranged by local or national travel nurse staffing agencies. Needless to say, many nursing positions are very physical and can lead to workplace injuries. Navigating a workers’ compensation claim when Vermont is not your home can be complicated and confusing when it comes to a variety of issues.
For example, even though you are working at a Vermont hospital, your “employer” for workers’ compensation purposes is typically the staffing agency that hired you. That agency may try to file your workers’ compensation claim in a different state than Vermont, even though you were injured in Vermont. Generally speaking, Vermont’s workers’ compensation laws are often more “employee friendly” than other states, so it can be beneficial to confirm that the workers’ comp claim is filed in Vermont.
In addition, a Vermont travel nurse’s employment contract will often be terminated by the hospital or the staffing agency soon after an injury occurs, unless the hospital is willing to accomodate any work restrictions that were imposed. This can lead to a loss of housing, and a quick trip back to your home state. Obtaining medical treatment outside of Vermont, but having that treatment billed to a Vermont workers’ compensation insurance carrier in compliance with Vermont workers’ comp laws, can also be tricky.
Finally, the staffing agency’s insurance company may not always calculate your “average weekly wage” correctly, resulting in the underpayment of temporary disability benefits if you’re missing work or on restricted duty. Per diem compensation, housing allowances or lodging, and other “benefits” may not have been included in the AWW calculation despite being includable. If you’ve been injured while working as a travel nurse in Vermont, it is always a good idea to contact a Vermont workers’ compensation attorney to ensure your claim is being handled in a manner that most benefits and protects you.