HR Advice: Helping Employees Understand Worker’s Compensation
When you sign a contract to become an employee of a company, you are entering into an agreement with them. You will perform your role to a certain standard and then you will be compensated for the work that you do. But a salary and other benefits are sometimes unreliable depending on your hours, any life changes, or several other circumstances.
One of these circumstances could be an injury that happens at work. Some workers who get hurt at work may lose out on potential salary or benefits because of their absence or inability to perform their role adequately. This is why worker’s compensation insurance programs began.
Worker’s compensation has a long history of protecting employees and employers in the United States. Much of the workforce, however, are still unfamiliar with what worker’s compensation covers and when it can be used. It is essential for employees to understand their rights and how worker’s compensation protects them in the event of an injury that occurs at the workplace.
What is Worker’s Compensation?
Worker’s compensation is a type of insurance that most employers must own. There are a few exceptions depending on which state you live in, but most companies must pay for it. This insurance pays out when an employee is hurt or injured while performing the functions of their role.
In most cases, the matter of fault will not come into play. As long as the injury happened while at the workplace or performing the essential job functions that they are contracted to do, the employee can be compensated through this type of insurance. If the injury occurred due to the negligence of another party such as the company itself or another employee, then the injured victim may consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to file a claim. When doing, so asking the right questions can help you determine which lawyer to hire.
What Can this Insurance Cover?
Worker’s compensation can cover two main categories of financial losses; bills and lost wages. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may have medical bills from treatment or therapy that accrue during your recovery period. These bills could be covered by worker’s compensation. Additionally, if you are forced to miss work or are unable to perform various functions of your role, this could result in lost wages or income. Worker’s compensation insurance will continue to pay you fairly while you recover until you can return to working at the expected level.
What Could Nullify a Worker’s Compensation Claim?
Though most injuries or illnesses that occur at work will be covered by this insurance, some circumstances would disqualify the employee from receiving coverage. If an employee intentionally hurts themselves at work, they would not be eligible for any benefits. Likewise, fooling around or committing horseplay at work will not cover a resulting injury in the workplace. If an employee is engaged in illegal activities or is breaking company policy when they get injured, they will receive no benefits.
These distinctions are important as worker’s compensation insurance protects not only the employee but the employer as well.
How Common are Worker’s Compensation Claims?
The answer to this question will depend heavily on the industry in question. Some industries, such as trade, have a high percentage of workers comp claims. The work that these individuals are engaged in is far more likely to result in injuries than, say, an office job. Additionally, healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing also see many claims happening over the course of a year.
As an employee who gets injured at work, filing a claim for worker’s compensation insurance could have a very positive impact on your finances when you are struggling under the weight of bills or lost wages after an incident. Even if the nature of your injury seems like you may not qualify for coverage, thousands of individuals benefit from this insurance every year. It is better to do your research and find out if you can be fairly compensated while you recover than to not even attempt to take advantage of these programs.
Why Worker’s Compensation Matters
This insurance matters because it ensures that both employees and employers are protected in the event of a workplace injury. The employee is protected by being able to receive compensation when their injuries result in medical bills or an inability to work and earn their wages. The employer is protected because this insurance often kicks in in place of a potential lawsuit from the worker. In this way, both parties have a safety net when an incident occurs.
All workers must understand their rights when it comes to worker’s compensation insurance. Some individuals may be missing out on helpful benefits that could support them and their families during recovery from a workplace injury or illness. If you are unsure if your injury would fall under this type of coverage, seek advice from a legal professional who can discuss the case with you.