If you are operating a business of any kind in the United States and you have employees working for you, you might be required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Although the rules and regulations vary from state to state, all states but Texas have the requirement to carry workers’ comp.
However, not all states have legislated the same requirements and conditions, so it pays to know what the laws are in your state so that you will be compliant. Noncompliance with any laws can see you slapped with a hefty fine if other stricter penalties are not imposed. So then, in order to be compliant, what are some of the important things you should know?
1. Not All Employers Are Required to Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance
One of the things you will want to do when getting a workers’ compensation quote is to research exactly what size businesses in your state are even required to carry workers’ comp. While the number of employees you have working for you is a prime consideration, sometimes it’s about the type of business you operate, and other times it’s what type of work is involved.
For example, since laws vary from state to state, some states don’t cover jobs like seasonal staff, farm workers, or volunteers. This is not written in stone and as it differs from state to state, you might be able to find out if your workers are covered when getting a workers’ compensation quote. Who knows better than the experts?
2. Workers May Receive Workers’ Comp for Work-Related Illness or Injuries
Exactly what is covered is often misunderstood. The most common work-related injuries like slips and falls, cuts, sprained or broken bones, and things of that nature are covered. However, if it is determined that the injury was self-inflicted, even if playfully, or of unknown origin, then it will almost always be denied in a claim. Also, all injuries or illnesses believed to be work-related must be reported to their superiors in a timely manner.
Bear in mind that most injuries or illnesses will probably be investigated, so time is of the essence. If too much time has elapsed between the injury and when it is investigated, a claim can be denied. There is one other reason which is commonly denied and that would be if the worker was injured in a work-related accident but was off the clock.
3. Compensation Includes Payment for Medical Bills and Lost Wages
Another common misconception about workers’ comp is that they will be compensated for their entire salary or average weekly hourly wage. They will only receive a percentage of their pay and only during the ‘healing’ stage of unemployment. This is referred to as temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD) with the intent of helping the injured employee to sustain while healing. All claims must be documented by a physician. Also included is payment for medical bills related to the injury or illness.
There is one other thing that many employees don’t understand and wish they had. Once they’ve filed a workers’ compensation claim they cannot sue their employer for additional payments unless the employer is found to have been reckless or had injured the employee willfully. In the end, it pays to carry workers’ comp just to ensure that the injured employee is fairly compensated and that you will not be asked to personally cover the expense.