Workers’ Compensation Insurance 101
If you are an employer, you likely have heard about workers’ compensation insurance and how it can benefit your employees when they are hurt on the job. Beyond that basic information, it is essential to understand that there are different types, based on different factors, and some circumstances and issues will not be covered.
Four Types of Benefits
1. Medical Coverage
If your employees are injured at work, workers’ comp will cover medical expenses for all treatments related to the injury. Coverage includes costs of hospitalization, medication, wheelchairs or other medical equipment, nursing care, and other necessities. Usually, there are no specified dollar amounts, and the insurance should cover any copays or deductibles as well.
It is critical to note that this insurance applies only when injuries occur at work. For instance, if an employee falls from a ladder and breaks a leg, that injury is covered. However, if an employee is injured when commuting to or from work, that accident is not covered. Physical therapy expenses are also included in workers’ comp coverage, as are any travel expenses required to get to physical therapy. In addition, any injuries at work that are related to natural disasters, terrorism, or other acts of violence are covered.
2. Wage Benefits
If employees’ injuries leave them unable to work—either temporarily or permanently—they receive wage benefits. Also known as disability benefits, these funds are awarded based on the injuries’ severity, the employees’ ability to return to the job, and various state laws.
3. Vocational Rehabilitation
Workers’ comp includes funding for vocational rehabilitation, which is designed for people who cannot return to their previous jobs. This benefit includes career counseling, job training, and employment assistance.
4. Death Benefits
In the heartbreaking event that a workplace accident results in a casualty, workers’ comp pays death benefits for the employee’s husband or wife, children, or other dependents. In most cases, the benefits cover funeral and burial costs, as well as a lump sum that helps compensate for the family’s loss.
Issues Without Coverage
In addition to not covering travel to and from work, this insurance does not cover issues categorized as pain and suffering. Therefore, if an employee wishes to pursue an award for pain and suffering, that will require filing a civil suit. Note that the lawsuit cannot be against the employer, but an employee can file suit against another contractor, a manufacturer of the equipment in question, or perhaps a property owner.
When to Ask for Assistance
If you have questions about how workers’ comp can help your employees and protect your business, be sure to consult legal counsel. Be aware that if you do not carry this insurance for your business, injured employees could file a suit against your company and put you at risk. Experienced employment attorneys can help you ensure you have the appropriate coverage and safeguard your company’s interests.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.