Workers’ compensation is nationwide, and every state has their for workers’ compensation. Smaller entities may be exempt from this insurance, but most businesses that have a few employees will need to obtain workers’ compensation.
As an employee, you’ll be able to ask about the benefits and apply for workers’ compensation as a benefit if you:
- Become injured at work
- Become sick due to work
- Contract a disease because of work
Even if a state doesn’t require workers’ compensation insurance, a lot of businesses are advised to take out this insurance as a protection against lawsuits. When businesses have this insurance, they cannot be held liable for injuries that occur in the workplace.
"Injuries on the job are a relatively common occurrence. While most work accidents result in minor injuries like cuts or burns, work accidents can result in severe injuries, long-term disability or death. Regardless of whether the injury is minor or severe, workers have a right to receive compensation for injuries they incur at work," explains .
As an employee, it’s important to know that your benefits:
1. Alleviate Employers from Liabilities
Once workers’ compensation benefits are dispersed, this leads to the employer not having to pay out a settlement. Claims are a great option because they will provide immediate monetary benefits, and there is no lengthy lawsuit involved.
And in most circumstances, you will not be able to sue the employer for punitive damages.
There are always exemptions to the rules, and this includes:
- The employer did not maintain or have workers’ compensation insurance that was sufficient. This would lead the employee to be able to file a lawsuit against their employer.
- If an employer meant to intentionally hurt an employee, this would be intentional harm wherein you’re still allowed to file a lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation is as much a protection for the employer as it is for the employee.
2. Claims Can Be Denied
Just because you’ve filed a claim doesn’t mean that the claim needs to be accepted. A lot of claims are denied, and a major reason for this is that 1% to 2% of claims are fraudulent. Still, these fraudulent claims lead to over $1.2 billion in losses, but there are also some studies that suggest these losses may be as high as $5+ billion.
All claims are reviewed, and if they’re denied, you can appeal the decision.
Some employees will need to secure legal counsel to help them fight against the denial and obtain the benefits that they’re entitled to by law.
3. Experts Recommend Filing a Claim as Soon as Possible
If you don’t want to file a claim right now because you’re waiting to see if your injury resolves, don’t. You should be filing a claim as soon as possible, reporting your injury to management as soon as it occurs.
- You lower the risk of enhancing the injury
- Start at an early point in the injury to gather evidence
- Lower risk of evidence of the injury being eliminated
If you’re injured or suffer from an illness that is work-related, you should file a claim as soon as possible. Waiting to file a claim provides you with zero benefits.
4. Benefits Also Include Death
Workers’ compensation benefits don’t just include lost wages. These benefits will include medical benefits and even death benefits. Survivors are allowed to file a claim for survivors’ benefits for a work-related death.
When these claims are granted, the survivor can receive 500 weeks of workers’ comp benefits at the going rate.
This can provide substantial financial security to loved ones that you leave behind.
5. You Can Sue Negligent Third Parties
You may not be able to sue your employer, depending on the circumstances around your injury or illness, but you can sue a third party. If a third party’s negligence contributed to your accident, you do have a right to sue this third-party.
The settlement may require that proceeds be used to reimburse payments made under workers’ comp.
But if an injury does occur and another party is negligent, you will be able to seek damages that may allow you to live a financially sound rest of your life, especially if you can no longer work.