Anyone could get hurt on the job. If you are an employee, you often have a right to apply for workers’ compensation. If you are the employer, you have a responsibility to ensure the employee receives the funds owed. How does this coverage protect both parties? How must both parties work together to achieve the appropriate results? It takes teamwork.
Workers’ compensation is insurance. It also occupies a unique place in American workplace law. Thus, those who receive benefits often must follow a specific process to reap the rewards.
What’s Workers’ Comp?
Some work injuries occur suddenly, such as if someone falls in the break room and sprains an ankle. Others might happen over time. Such is the case if repetitive motion leads to back, muscle or bone injuries. Exposure to certain chemicals over the years might also create these risks. In these situations, several detrimental results might occur.
First, medical bills and rehab costs might mount, even for those with health insurance. That's an increased risk of monetary losses. Furthermore, someone might not be able to work as a result of the injury. The time off could cost needed income, and increase risks of financial insecurity. Not only that, should permanent disability result, they might not be able to return to work at all. That's a massive personal loss.
Workers’ compensation can minimize many of these threats to someone's security. That's why this is a form of insurance coverage that most employers offer. Employees can file a claim on the business’s workers’ comp policy to cover some or all their resulting costs.
Employees Have a Right to Coverage
States recognize that everyone has a right to work safely. That’s why we have workplace laws. They also know that injured employees might need help in their recovery. As a result, most states require most business owners to carry workers’ comp insurance. It’s critical protection for employees and owners alike.
If the claimant qualifies for help, the policy will help supplement the employee’s income. It can provide invaluable support for those who face harm brought on by work. They might use the funds from the policy for medical bills or even everyday income. It’s there to provide extra money for the things that you can’t expect, but wind up costing a lot anyway.
Depending on the type of injury, you might be able to only claim benefits for a certain time periods. Temporary disabilities usually only qualify for coverage for a certain number of years. Permanent disabilities might receive coverage from the plan indefinitely. As a result, they can serve the employee’s needs for as long as necessary.
Benefits for Employers
Workers’ compensation doesn’t just help employees. The businesses that carry this coverage can enjoy protection as well.
Employees who receive workers’ comp won’t have to worry about many of their needs. Therefore, they can focus on recovery, which might allow them to return to work in a better state than before. That’s a benefit to productivity. As a result, the business can enjoy the results of supporting its workers.
Certain workers’ comp laws also require employees not to sue the business if they get benefits instead. Therefore, both parties might save on settlements, legal fees and costly litigation. Settling a damage claim might prove easier if a business owner provides workers’ comp. Keep in mind, this often does not eliminate the right of employees to sue for all losses. Legal action might still result, regardless of a claim, in certain cases.
Filing a Claim
Employees who get hurt at work usually have a responsibility to initiate a claim. Conversely, the employer must respond accordingly.
Most employees can initiate claims within a statute of limitations. You often have a certain number of months or years to ask for coverage. This rule exists to protect those who might not experience immediate, apparent harm. Some injuries take time to develop. However, the rule also stops potential abusers from gaming the system.
Employers often have to document and investigate the claim. The employee might have to provide medical evidence of an injury or personal loss. Some might even have to prove that an injury actually occurred on the job. Both parties will work with the workers’ compensation insurer to file the claim. Often, a local workers’ compensation board or entity might have role to play. Check your local workers’ compensation laws for more information.
Qualifying for workers’ compensation often isn’t a reason for an employee to quit working. It’s also often not a catalyst for animosity between employer and employee. Generally, both parties can work together to achieve a satisfactory outcome.
In the end, workers’ comp is a great benefit for all commercial parties. However, avoiding claims usually proves much easier than having to file for coverage. Employers and employees should pay attention to safety risks in their local environments. At the end of the day, the safer the workplace, the safer everyone involved.
Looking for Workers' Compensation coverage? Be sure to call Knight-Dik Insurance Agency, Inc at (800) 286-6353 to learn about your options.
Also Read: Five Ways You Can Lower Your Worker's Comp Premium