No one wants accidents to happen, but somehow they still do. Workplace accidents are among the most common. A workplace injury occurring once every seven seconds in the United States.
Even in the safest of work environments, tragedy can occur. It’s important that you, as the business owner, prepare properly. And that means understanding and implementing worker’s compensation.
How does workers comp work? Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance program. It ensures employees coverage for injuries sustained as a result of their jobs. It’s a state-mandated law that employers offer worker’s compensation. That means it’s important you know the ins and outs of it if you hope to run a successful business.
Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about worker’s compensation.
State Requirements For Worker’s Comp
Worker’s compensation is a state-mandated law. If you run a business, you will likely need to provide some sort of worker’s compensation policy for your employees. The specifics outside of that depend on what state you work in.
The federal government does have a worker’s compensation program, but that’s only for federal employees. Businesses operate under the state level when it comes to worker’s compensation.
Some states don’t require a policy if you have under a minimum number of employees. Some states also exclude certain industries from having to obtain policies.
For example, there are many states where season agricultural workers do not have to be covered under worker’s compensation. In this situation, these employees would make a claim under tort law as opposed to compensation insurance.
Independent contractors are also usually excluded across most states.
What Type Of Injuries?
Worker’s compensation intends to cover injuries or illnesses that result from an employee’s active work. This can be a specific injury or moment, like a slip or fall, or it could be a series of repeated stresses or exposures.
The injuries sustained don’t have to be the direct fault of the employer to trigger compensation. Carelessness on the part of the employee can still trigger worker’s compensation benefits, as long as the injury was sustained in the workplace.
An injury does not even have to take place in the workplace itself. If an employee was injured away from the office completing a work-related task, that injury would still be covered under worker’s compensation.
There are fine lines when it comes to navigating what is a coverable injury and what isn’t. Riding to and from work and home, for example, isn’t considered a work-related task. Therefore an injury sustained commuting to work would not be covered under worker’s compensation.
There are a few situations in which worker’s compensation benefits can be denied. If an employee showed gross negligence, for example, they may not be awarded compensation for their injuries.
Showing up to work drunk or under the influence of drugs would be an example of such gross negligence. That’s why drug and alcohol tests are so common after workplace injuries.
Injuries found to be self-inflicted or intentional will also not receive any benefits from the worker’s compensation program.
What Benefits Are Offered?
An employee injured at work should be able to rely on worker’s compensation benefits for their livelihood and well-being. But the exact benefits of a policy will vary depending on the employee’s injury.
In almost all cases, worker’s compensation will cover medical expenses related to the injury as well as lost wages. It may also cover rehabilitation therapy or additional payment for permanent injuries or survivor’s benefits.
Wage replacement for lost wages is usually not the actual full amount of a worker’s pay rate. More often, it is a large fraction but is offered un-taxed.
Most states allow employers to decide which healthcare provider their employees visit. In some states, employees can visit whatever healthcare provider they prefer. They can do so with no regard for their employer’s wishes.
As a result of accepting worker’s compensation benefits? An employee will waive their ability to sue or press charges on their employer.
The Cost Of Worker’s Compensation
If you’re opening a business, you’ll need to buy a worker’s compensation policy from the state. If you fail to carry insurance, your employees can report you. You will get hit with fines and face some serious time in court.
Worker’s compensation policies can be a large financial burden on small businesses. It’s important that small businesses work with brokers to find affordable policies. And it’s important that still provide the best coverage for their employees.
There are a number of actions a small business can take to help keep worker’s compensation costs low. The National Workman’s Comp Solutions suggests keeping a safe work environment and filing for the right kind of job descriptions, but there are many ways to save.
It can be hard to budget for such an insurance policy. State laws make it a necessity for every business to figure out. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t want to see your employees injured and in trouble regardless.
A good worker’s compensation policy is the best solution.
How Does Workers Comp Work?
Many people still don’t understand the details of worker’s compensation insurance. This is despite its presence across almost all business in America. If you’ve ever wondered, ‘how does workers comp work?’ hopefully, the above details have given you the information you need.
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