Every year, job-related injuries affect thousands of employee and costs United States companies over $100 billion. As an employee or employer, it is highly likely that at some point in time, you or someone you know will deal with a job-related injury, and consequently, workers’ compensation claim. That’s why it’s essential to understand what workers’ comp is and everything that goes into the process.
If you are new to the worker’s comp concept, this article will give you incredible insights to help you better prepare for any eventuality that might unfold along the way.
So, first things first, what is workers’ compensation law?
It’s a form of insurance offering medical benefits and wage replacement to workers who are injured while on duty in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of worker’s right to sue the company for the tort of negligence. Workers’ comp protects the employer but also ensures the employee gets compensation for any arising work-related illnesses and injuries.
Generally, an employee who suffers job-related injury or illness can receive workers’ comp benefits irrespective of who was at fault – though there are exceptions to this rule. The compensation does not cover illnesses or injuries that occur when the employee is using illegal drugs or is intoxicated. An employee may also be denied coverage if the injuries are self-inflicted; occur while he/she was committing a serious crime, or were sustained away from the job or when his/her conduct violated employer policy.
Workers’ comp not only covers accidents like slips and falls, but it also takes care of injuries arising from misuse or overuse over an extended period, like chronic back problems or repetitive stress injuries. Employees may also get benefits for some progressive diseases and illnesses resulting from job conditions, like lung disease, heart conditions, and stress-related issues. This cover takes care of the medical and hospital expenses along with disability payment while the employee is not able to work (often up to two-thirds of their regular paycheck). In some cases, the employee may also receive retraining, rehabilitation, and other benefits.
Who is covered?
Employers are required to cover their employees. However, this is usually dependent on some factors like the number of employees they have, the kind of work the employee does, and the type of business. Meaning, not every employee is covered under the workers’ compensation – and while this may vary, the exclusion often includes domestic employees, farmworkers, and casual or seasonal workers.
Suing an employer
The goal of workers’ comp insurance is to prevent employees from suing their employers or coworkers, meaning an employee cannot sue for damages like mental anguish or pain and suffering. However, there are some instances when one can bring a suit against their employers, like when the injury was intentional or when one isn’t covered by the insurance.
Working with a lawyer
According to one Tucson workers’ compensation lawyer, employees can bypass the workers’ comp statutes and bring a claim for damages, especially when the circumstances mentioned above happen. They can also file a suit if they are exposed to toxic substances or injured by defective products – or against third parties like landowners, drivers, and subcontractors.