Workers’ comp laws help to protect both businesses and employees. Understanding them, and the nuances of workers’ comp claims in general, can help you run a hyper-successful business. With that said, many employers fail to realize some of the most important facts about workers’ comp. To assist you, here are eight workers’ comp facts that every employer in the US needs to know:
1. These Industries have the Highest Risk of Workers’ Comp Claims
Depending on your industry, you may have a higher risk of your employees filing for workers’ comp claims. Preparation to handle them lawfully, and successfully, is your responsibility as an employer. Construction, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, transportation, warehouse, farming, fishery, and forestry workers are at the highest risk. For employers working in these industries, having a tight-knit, specific plan on how to handle any and all workers’ comp claims is an absolute must. Additionally, workers’ compensation claims by industry can vary wildly, so be sure to keep this in mind.
2. The State Administers the Programs
Employers must pay into state workers’ comp funds or gather these funds through insurance claims that they purchase on their own. When workers find themselves injured or ill due to workplace circumstances, they can use workers’ comp insurance claims to find the financial cushion they need to stay financially afloat as their injuries or illnesses take the time they need to heal.
3. All Employers Must Have a Workers’ Comp Policy
While all employers must have a workers’ comp policy to cover their employers, the laws surrounding this are a bit more complicated than they seem. For example, states differ in who they consider covered employees, in the types of injuries covered, in what type of proof needed for workers’ comp claims, in their statute of limitations, and in what type of defenses employers use to try to deny an employee’s workers’ comp claim.
4. You May Self-Insure Workers’ Comp Coverage (In Some States)
While not all states allow companies to self-insure workers’ comp coverage, many do. With that said, these states require employers to follow strict guidelines to do so. In some states, workers are allowed to exempt independent contractors from their workers’ comp claims altogether. Your education about the workers’ comp laws in the state of your business helps you stay on the right side of the law.
5. Workers’ Comp Covers Long-Term Illnesses and Injuries
The main goal of workers’ comp benefit payments is to assist workers during their time of healing. These workers will need assistance paying for medical treatments, their bills, and covering their lost wages, after all. A few types of benefits exist that workers’ comp pays for specifically. These include medical coverage, drug coverage, disability benefits, rehabilitation fees, and psych counseling. Also, it includes (in the case of an on-the-job death) death benefits for the worker’s spouse or dependents.
6. Premiums are Based on State Rates
Not all insurance premiums are the same for workers’ comp claims. Both the past individual experience of an employer and the state you’re doing business in will affect the premiums your business must pay. If your company is seeing a ton of employees filing for workers’ comp claims, or if you’ve been determined to have interfered with a workers’ comp investigation (or filing), your premiums may end up being much higher than average. By treating your employees with respect and kindness, you can keep your premiums down.
7. Employees Can Sue Employers For Workplace Injuries
Even if your employee receives workers’ comp benefits, they can still sue you for their injuries or illnesses. Especially if it’s discovered and determined that their injuries are due to company negligence, you may be held legally responsible and ordered to pay additional damages.
An example would be employees who work on oil rigs down in Texas — in case of accidents, they can go to a Texas oil rig accident lawsuit lawyer and file a case against you. By ensuring that your company is run safely and that you treat your employees with dignity, you can avoid this tragic and expensive scenario.
8. Not All Workplace Injuries Include Coverage
Some types of injuries are not covered by workers’ comp insurance claims at all. If an employee suffers injury due to reckless behavior, if the injury was self-inflicted, if the injury was gained in the commission of a crime, or if the employee violated company policy while being injured, their claim can likely be denied. Additionally, employees can not file a workers’ comp claim for an injury that was sustained at home.
Protect Your Company and Your Employees
By keeping yourself up-to-date with every workers’ comp facts and law, you can ensure that you protect both your company and its employees. If you fail to stay on the right side of the law, it could end up costing you big time.