Workers’ compensation covers the costs of employee injuries and illnesses, including lost wages and more. It’s required by law in most states for businesses with employees.
If an employee is injured or sickened on the job, workers’ compensation insurance can pay for the worker’s medical expenses and rehabilitation costs. If the employee is forced to miss work due to the injury, workers’ comp can also provide partial lost wages. In addition, some policies provide death benefits if an employee is killed while performing a job-related duty.
Workers’ comp insurance also has benefits for employers. A policy can cover legal expenses if an employee decides to sue for damages caused by an occupational injury, illness, or accident.
Who is required?
Most business owners with employees are required to purchase coverage, although workers’ comp requirements vary depending on where the business and employees are based. To make sure your business has the appropriate coverage for your state’s requirements, talk to an Insurance agent who specializes in insurance for your industry and who can explain how workers’ comp functions in your state.
Sole proprietors and freelancers usually are not required to carry coverage, but they may still want to consider purchasing a policy. If they are injured while working, workers’ comp ensures they will at least have partial income while unable to work.
How workers’ compensation claims work
Employees who experience a workplace injury or occupational illness should immediately report the incident to the employer. Reporting periods are different for each state, and if an employee doesn’t make a report before the specified deadline, he or she might not receive benefits.
After an injury or illness is reported, business owners and employees should take the following steps:
– Visit an approved healthcare professional
– Injured or ill employees should seek medical assistance immediately – any delays can put their health and benefits at risk. The doctor will then provide a medical report to file with the employee’s injury claim.
Start the claims process
– Employers are responsible for providing the appropriate forms, information about the claims process, and the contact details for the business’s insurance company.
File the claim
– The employee should file a claim with the employer’s insurance company, making sure to pay attention to reporting deadlines. The claim should include any state-mandated paperwork, forms, and medical reports.
– Once the insurance provider approves the claim, the employee will begin to receive workers’ compensation payments. Benefits can include coverage for the employee’s medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and two-thirds of their wages while they are medically unable to work.
Return to work
– An injured employee might return to work on a reduced schedule or full time, depending on the recommendation of the treating physician. Employers should make reasonable accommodations to help the employee during the transition back to the workplace and provide any necessary safety training to ensure the same type of injury doesn’t happen again.