Workplaces are prone to accidents regardless of the measures taken to prevent or minimize them. The level of risk a business is exposed to depends on the type of business they undertake. For instance, a few injury claims on a construction site can bring a company to its knees. Therefore, it would be imprudent for a business to pay out of pocket for work-related injuries and illnesses. That’s where workers comp insurance comes in.
Workers’ comp, also known as workers’ compensation, is an insurance cover that protects businesses and their workers from financial loss due to work-related injuries or sicknesses. It also shields employers from the potential risk that could cripple their businesses resulting from workers’ compensation claims.
As a worker, you may be wondering how workers’ comp insurance works and how you would benefit from it if the need arises. To know the answer to those, you must ask your insurance provider the right questions. Below are the essential questions to ask:
- Is The Workers’ Comp Claim Statute Barred?
Like any other injury claim, a workers’ comp claim is governed by a statute of limitation. It means that if you don’t file your claim within the period provided by law, it’ll be declared time-barred. The limitation period varies from state to state. For instance, in New York, the statute of limitation is a 2 year period for initial claims. This period is calculated from the date of the incident.
- What Is Not Covered?
Some incidents that may occur in the workplace may not be covered by workers’ comp insurance. These usually include the following:
- Injuries sustained due to intoxication.
- Injuries you inflict on yourself intentionally.
- Emotional distress and trauma that are unrelated to your work.
- Injuries sustained while committing a crime.
You may ask your insurance provider about this to know some more items that may not be included in your workers’ comp insurance.
- Who Pays For The Benefits?
Employers are mandated to purchase the cover for their employees’ benefits. As an employee, you aren’t responsible for paying for the insurance.
- What Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
Many people think that workers’ comp insurance covers only accidents in construction sites or serious accidents like head injuries. However, your medical expenses and associated costs will also be covered if you suffer:
- Single event injuries: These are injuries that come from one incident in the workplace, such as a slip and fall accident or a broken arm.
- Cumulative trauma: These are injuries from repetitive strain or motion while working, like back pain or plantar fasciitis.
- Mental health injuries: These are psychological conditions occurring as a result of excessive stress in the workplace.
- Occupational illness: These are illnesses or diseases from prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals or substances in the workplace.
Other things covered by workers’ comp insurance are:
- Lost wages: Paid to replace lost income for the days you were off duty due to work-related sickness or injury.
- Funeral expenses: Paid to your family members in the unfortunate event you lose your life from a work-related injury or illness.
- Disability: You may also qualify for either permanent, partial, or temporary disability benefits to cover compromised earning potential or lost wages.
Ensure you know what your workers’ comp insurance covers so you can claim your right.
- How Do I Know If I Am Eligible?
As long as your employer carries workers’ comp insurance, you qualify to be compensated for a work-related illness or injury. However, there are special rules for some categories of workers, including domestic, agricultural, farm, casual, and seasonal workers.
- Will I Be Compensated If The Accident Was My Fault?
When it comes to workers’ comp insurance, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. It’s typically no-fault insurance, meaning that if you get injured or become ill in the workplace, you’ll be entitled to compensation even if you were at fault.
- What Should I Do If I Get Injured On The Job?
In the event you sustain an injury in the place of work, you should immediately report it to the person in charge. The report should contain the time, date, and circumstances that the injury occurred.
Illnesses that manifest over time should be reported when a diagnosis is obtained or an injury is discovered.
- Can I Sue My Employer Instead?
Apart from a few exceptions, generally, you’ll not be able to sue your employer for a workplace injury when it provides workers’ comp insurance. The law protects your employer from defending any personal injury claim you may bring against them. This insurance is like a trade-off where you give up your right to file a claim against your employer in exchange for the insurance.
Being under the cover of workers’ comp insurance will ensure that you’re compensated in case you suffer an injury while in the line of duty. Knowing the extent of the coverage will also inform you what boundaries you should stay within in your place of work. For instance, you should avoid drugs or alcohol when on duty since it usually ends in harm, which will not be compensated for.