Regardless of your role in a company, it is really important to be informed about major laws and benefits when it comes to working injury compensation.
Before you start educating on this topic, you should be aware that these laws and benefits vary from state to state, and they might be altered and supplemented at any time.
Because of that, it is important to read the law frequently, so you could be prepared at any time.
Of course, your position in the company will determine what you really need to know. Everything else is just a bonus in your knowledge.
Go ahead and read the rest of the text in order to start learning about work injury compensation.
What are the benefits?
As mentioned above, every state has its own laws when it comes to injury compensation, and all of them are meant to protect workers on their workplace. In case you own the company, it is for the best to voluntarily participate in the state’s program. This is not mandatory, but it’s highly recommended.
To start informing about injury compensation, you should start from the list below. It contains benefits that are common in all states:
- Accidental job-related injury – This is the first reason for injury compensation, and benefits are possible if the employee suffered a „personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment.”
- Wage-loss, medical and death benefits – This package of benefits can cover between 50-65% of the average weekly salary.
- The fault is not an issue in most cases – The fault is not important when it comes to getting benefits. It doesn’t matter if the employer is guilty of the injury, or the injury appeared as a consequence of worker’s negligence.
- An employee can’t sue to employer – In order to qualify for benefits, the injured worker has to give up the right to sue the employer for any injury covered by compensation laws.
- An employee holds the right to sue negligent third parties – If the injury is caused by third party’s negligence, the worker retains the right to sue them. If you own the company, keep in mind that any suit’s proceeds should primely reimburse you for paid benefits.
It is important to know that benefits for workers’ compensation are possible just in case the injury happened during the work. Benefits aren’t payable in cases of self-inflicted injuries, substance abuse, or intoxication. Payable benefits include:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Income reimbursement for total or partial disability of a permanent or temporary nature
- In cases of fatal injury or illness, benefits go to the survivor
Do state workers’ compensation laws apply to you?
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Most states cover all employers who have minimum one employee. On the other hand, the definition of a small employer varies from state to state. Usually, you will be exempt if you have less than three workers, but go ahead and double-check the regulations just to be sure.
Even if you are exempt, you have the freedom to voluntarily participate in the state program. If the participation is mandatory in your state, keep in mind that nonparticipation is treated as a crime, and you can be fined or imprisoned. At the end, your license to conduct business can be denied.
Should you voluntarily participate?
As any other decision made in life, this one has its upsides and downsides as well. The advantages of participating are:
- You can’t be sued for everything you own. Your responsibility remains within the boundaries of the workers’ compensation system, and it goes just for work-related injuries.
- Types of benefits that must be paid are limited to those described in the law.
- Disability planning will go much easier since costs will be predictable.
- On the other hand, disadvantages are the following:
- Your accident record will cause a number of your premiums, and those can be very high.
- You’ll have to deal with the increased administration because there will be a lot of filing requirements.
- You could waste plenty of time answering false allegations.
What to do when the actual accident happens?
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There are two things that you as an employer need to do as soon as you hear about the accident:
- File an accident report with the affordable workers’ compensation agency such as Withstand Lawyers. Compensation benefits will be easily calculated and paid to the injured worker.
- Make sure to treat every injury as legitimate, even if you feel suspicious once you get informed about circumstances in which injury take place.
The way you file a report may vary from state to state. Every single one of them has its own regulations when it comes to the time period within you must file the report.
In addition, your state agency will go over the case and decide if your employee should be awarded the payments. There is a possibility for an appeal to a court in case facts are in dispute. The payment is made within a week and not less than three days after the injury.
Keep in mind that even if workers’ compensation laws protect you from being sued, there are some exceptions which may harm you after all.
Because of that, you should treat every injury as legitimate. If you aren’t serious about a possible injury, your employees are entitled to sue you for failing to provide them with the compensation benefits.
In order to treat the injury as legitimate, you’ll need to do the following:
- Talk to the injured employee – This means you should provide an assistance, ask them about the facts, and let them know there’s a system available which can take care of the injury.
- Provide first aid or call the ambulance– You will need to accompany injured worker to the nearest hospital.
- Document the accident – It is very important to write down what happened, and you should do it the same day the accident took its course. After that, make sure to contact the family of the injured employee and let them know which benefits are applicable.
- Fast medical treatment– Give your best to provide prompt medical care, but firstly, you will need a permission of the injured worker.
- Follow up with the worker to file an accident report
How can you be sure that accident is work-related?
If you doubt in claims provided by the injured worker, feel free to make your own investigation of the case. Of course, the final opinion will be made by the workers’ compensation agency or the insurance company. Keep in mind that you may be better if the accident is work-related since you can be protected from liability.
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