Finding yourself unable to work after an on-the-job injury is a frightening prospect, especially when your financial stability hangs in the balance. As an employee, you likely depend on each paycheck to cover your regular expenses and medical bills.
That’s why understanding your rights and protections under workers’ compensation insurance is so critical. This essential coverage provides relief if you suffer an illness or injury while working. Let’s see how workers comp system functions and what it could mean for you if the unthinkable happens during your shift.
What’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers compensation insurance provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related illnesses or injuries. It is a form of insurance that employers are required to carry in almost every state.
Unlike a regular health insurance claim, workers’ comp functions as a no-fault system, meaning that employees can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury.
Who Pays for Workers Comp Insurance?
While employees enjoy the benefits of workers’ comp, it is entirely paid for by employers. Companies purchase policies that provide coverage for all their employees. Workers comp insurance rates are calculated through a classification system that accounts for the risks associated with different types of professions.
For example, construction workers have a higher likelihood of on-the-job injuries than office workers. Therefore, premiums are higher for companies employing tradespeople who work with heavy machinery or at height.
There are two main types of workers comp benefits – medical care benefits and lost wages. Let’s look at both in more detail.
Once an injury is reported, workers comp will pay for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the employee’s injury or illness. This includes hospital visits, physical therapy, medications, assistive devices and any other care that aids recovery. Unlike health insurance, there is no network – employees can see any doctor they choose who accepts workers comp’ patients.
Lost Wage Replacement
Besides medical benefits, employees will receive replacement wages for any time they are unable to work due to their injury or illness. The exact amount will depend on the state but is usually around two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings.
Overall, the goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to cover employees who suffer misfortune at work, so they avoid financial disaster while healing and transitioning back to full duty.
How To File a Workers’ Comp Claim
If you are injured while working, report it to your employer as soon as possible. Provide details of when, where and how the injury occurred. Your employer should have a process in place for recording injuries and filing claims. It’s important to follow all rules and deadlines to avoid denial of your claim.
Appealing a Claim
If your claim gets denied, there’s no need to panic. There is an appeals process you can pursue to fight the decision. Consider hiring a workers’ comp attorney to help argue your case. They can ensure proper procedures are followed and maximize your likelihood of getting the benefits you deserve.
The Bottom Line
Sustaining an on-the-job injury can be pretty difficult and confusing. Workers’ comp supports injured employees so they don’t suffer financial disaster. Understanding the system is important if you ever get hurt on the job. Knowing your rights and following proper protocols will lead to the best outcome on the road to recovery.