Workmans Compensation

 

 
 
 
 
 

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workmans Comp is an important benefit for both employers and employees.  Being injured on the job is stressful to both parties, and having insurance can help.

Both employers and employees should be knowledgeable about coverage and take the necessary steps to ensure that the details of reporting job related injuries and the circumstances that led to them are filed accurately and in a timely manner.

 

 

 

     
 
workmans compensation  

Getting to Know Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Neil works a full-time job as a stock clerk at a grocery store. While doing the routine inventory count one day, a load of stock fell on him. The accident resulted in injury to his back and has cost him the use of his lower limbs.

After months of intensive care, treatment and therapy, he suffers from depression and has to cope with a permanent disability due to a spinal cord injury for the rest of his life.

What happened to Neil can happen to anyone on the job. If you ever get injured while working, there can be a great impact to you, your family and finances. What happens when you sustain a permanent disability or die on the job? Can you afford losing your wages? Can your family cope with the challenge of having diminished income? How are you going to pay for care?

A Brief History

There used to be a time when the only way for injured workers to recover compensation for injuries sustained on the job was to sue their employers and prove the injuries were caused by unsafe work environments. But lawsuits are expensive and even those who earned a bit more than minimum wages could not afford the costs associated with filing legal action against their employers. Often, they were left with no choice but to accept what happened and bear the consequences of lost wages, sustaining permanent disabilities and finding a job or an alternative means to support their families. Thanks to efforts of labor unions, today, employers in all states of the US are required by law to provide some form of workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance laws first came about in Europe and Australia; the United States followed shortly after. Today, it is common in most industrialized countries.

Understanding It

What is workers’ compensation insurance? It is a form of insurance paid out to workers or their families who are injured or killed on the job. It mimics disability insurance when paid out weekly in place of salaries and wages as compensation for economic loss; as health insurance when paid out as reimbursement for associated medical expenses; and as life insurance when paid out as benefits payable to the family of someone who dies at work. All these benefits received by injured workers sounds good but at what cost? The trade off for these assured but limited benefits is the injured worker giving up their right to sue their employers for damages.

Although workers’ compensation insurance is believed to improve working conditions and provide economic safety nets for workers and their families, it is criticized for restricting an employee’s right to seek legal action against employers for negligence which effectively reduces liability of said employers and insurance companies as well.

 
If you do get injured on the job, should you be compelled to accept your employer’s checks for workers’ compensation? Should you accept it? That’s your call. Most employees don’t give this aspect of their employment much thought when they are first signed on. That’s fine. Just remember to evaluate it carefully, consider your options before accepting payment and/or consult your lawyer when or if you actually get injured.


 

 

 
 
 
workmans comp   Information on Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Seeking employment is more than just sending out resumes, interviewing and negotiating compensation packages. Often, the most important aspects of employment, besides your job description and qualifications are the benefits included in your compensation package.

 

One of the benefits of employment that employees often do not give much thought to is workers’ compensation insurance. Let’s get to know this benefit with these facts:

1. Workers’ compensation insurance benefits employers as well as employees. Although workers might think it pretty good to receive money in case they get seriously hurt while doing their job, the compensation insurance is not an altruistic benefit provided by employers. In fact, some might even argue it is more to the benefit of employers as it protects them from lawsuits and legal liabilities for negligence.

2. You give up a right when you accept your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In exchange for reimbursement for medical expenses, weekly payments in lieu of wages or benefits paid to your family if you die from work-related injuries or accidents, you give up your common law right to sue your employers for negligence.

3. Workers’ insurance laws vary from one place to another. Even in the US, each state has its own set of rules and legal requirements for workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The common thing however, is it is mandatory; All employers are required to provide some kind of compensation insurance to its workforce. Stiff penalties apply for those who do not comply with this requirement.

4. Small businesses can offer workers’ compensation insurance. As mentioned above, each state has its own set of rules for implanting worker’s compensation insurance requirements. In some states, depending on the number of employees, some small businesses are not legally mandated to provide this type of coverage. That doesn’t mean however that these businesses cannot provide workers’ compensation insurance. Many providers have small business insurance packages that include workers’ compensation insurance regardless of the number of employees. Alternatively, small business owners can come together to provide this type of coverage for their employees.

Advantages of Providing Workers’ Compensation Insurance
From the employer’s perspective, providing workers’ compensation insurance work to benefit their business in two ways. Firstly, it provides protection from prospective legal action when an employee gets seriously hurt while on the job. Secondly, it protects them from unexpected, uneven, and uncertain future financial obligations arising from legal liabilities to workers injured on the job. These protections save employers and their businesses millions of dollars in the long run, especially if the risk of an employee getting hurt on the job is ever-present.

Employees on the other hand, gain an economic safety net not otherwise available to them. Accidents that leave a worker permanently disabled or dead greatly impacts economic resources of their families. Legal battles are expensive and most workers’ are unable to afford it. In cases they do, judgments are often in favor of employers with rulings ordering minimal payments. In most cases, accepting workers’ compensation insurance saves workers the hassle of lawsuits and gives them and their families a way to pay medical bills and restart their lives.

 
     
 
 

 

     
 
workman compensation

Tips for Claiming Workman’s Compensation

So you were hurt at work. If you are employed in any state in the United States or in most industrialized societies, you may file a claim for workman’s compensation. Your employers are very likely to have worker’s compensation insurance in place that can pay for your injuries and alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with being injured.

Here are some tips on how to go about it:

1. Report the incident immediately.

You must let at least a supervisor know you have been injured even if you don’t feel any pain. Do this as soon as possible, as timeliness bears on your claim. Also, be completely truthful about what happened. Insurance companies go to great lengths to find out the truth. They will hire experts if they have to so it is to your advantage to stick to the facts.

2. Be as detailed as possible.

Recount events chronologically and provide as much details as you can, including what you did before, during and after you were hurt. Be thorough. Leaving out anything will negatively impact your claim so be careful with your written incident report. State clearly what you intend to say. Keep in mind it’s easy to misunderstand written accounts; you don’t want to leave room for misinterpretation.

3. Keep a copy of the incident report you filed for your personal records.
While Waiting

It may take a couple of months for your claim to be processed and for you to begin receiving payments for the injuries you sustained. What do you do while you’re out of work and not receiving a regular pay check? Especially if you’re seriously ill and in hospital, how do you manage your finances during the wait period?

Here are some tips you might find useful:

1. Take out a loan.

If you do not have an emergency fund saved, you will need funds to cover basic living expenses – utility bills, rent, food, etc. Taking out a single loan to cover these expenses while waiting for your workman’s compensation payment is better than racking up credit card bills or owing multiple creditors. It’s a cheaper alternative and it’s easier to manage.

2. Notify creditors.

Yes, you have to let them know you have been injured at work because this affects your ability to meet obligations. You are unlikely to be able to pay your dues as usual when you are not receiving regular pay checks. Letting your creditors know about your situation will save you a lot of money as creditors will help you by working out a way to accommodate your needs; most will not report or charge you with late payments if you let them know.

3. Seek out your own doctor for treatment.

Doctors retained by employers and insurance companies are there to protect their interests, not yours. This is not to say they would not treat you or would not want you to get you better. But it’s always best to be evaluated by an expert who has your best interests at the forefront.  Although workman’s compensation is a benefit incident to your employment, it’s a legally-mandated benefit. Making sure your claims are treated fairly is your own responsibility.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

workers compensation insurance

Workman’s Compensation and Returning to Work

It is unfortunate when an employee gets injured on the job. Although employees are aware or made aware of such risks at the time they were hired, employers have the moral obligation and legal responsibility to ensure a safe work environment and to compensate workers for work-related injuries.

Although workman’s compensation insurance benefits employers as well, they don’t like paying any money to an unproductive employee. They would want to reduce whatever payments you’re entitled to, or have you return to work as soon as you possibly can. You, on the other hand, would naturally want to take your time to recover and want to maximize your benefits under your workman’s compensation.

Here are some things you need to know about your workman’s compensation and returning to work after sustaining work-related injuries:

1. See your own doctor for treatment. Employer-retained or insurance company-retained doctors do not necessarily have your best interests in mind. They are there to protect your employer’s interest and serve their needs. It’s better to see a doctor you already have a relationship with or who has your best interest at heart. Medical opinions vary as legal opinions do. A doctor with no ties to your employer or their insurers works to your benefit.

2. Finding alternative employment will not disqualify you from receiving workman’s compensation. If you’re unable to return to work at full capacity and your employer does not have light-duty work, you may be required to find alternative employment. If you do find another employer and you are able to perform the job they hired you for at full capacity, you will not lose your workman’s compensation benefits entirely. All your medical bills related to the injury will be paid for by the insurance company.

3. Work part-time if you can. Yes, even if you are receiving less than your workman’s compensation. The workman’s compensation will pay you the difference. Your checks from the insurance company will come at every pay period.

When to Involve Lawyers

Because employers and employees stand on opposite ends where actual claims for workman’s compensation are concerned, you may need to call a personal injury lawyer. But when do you go shopping for one?

Give your employer a 21-day reprieve. An insurance adjuster should call you within 21 days of filing your incident report to set up workman’s compensation. If you don’t hear back from them, by all means, call them. Have your copy of the incident report handy as you may be asked questions relating to it. It is important to give your employers the chance to give you the benefit without involving lawyers.

After the 21-day period and if you have not heard back from your employers or from an insurance adjuster after attempting to work with them, or when they’re denying your injuries, or if you are dissatisfied with the benefits you are offered, seek legal advice. You do not give up your right to seek legal action for damages due to negligence unless you accept your employer’s workman’s compensation.