Most employees injured while working for a company qualify for workers’ compensation, although some exceptions exist, and employers must have this type of insurance in place. Workers’ compensation insurance programs protect workers who are injured from a workplace accident or by an occupational illness.
Workers’ compensation systems are put into place by each state. The federal government also oversees workers’ compensation for federal employees, as well as other specific funds.
Criteria To Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must be an employee, and your injuries must have occurred while you were on the job, as stated by the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Workers’ compensation should cover most employees. In some states, however, independent contractors do not qualify, but contractors and subcontractors may need workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
The size of a business may also determine whether or not its employees are covered. Some states may not require an employer to have workers’ compensation insurance if the business has fewer than five employees. Most states require workers’ comp insurance to some degree.
Federal employees qualify for workers’ compensation through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The federal government has programs for various types of workers. These programs can have different requirements and restrictions for applicants that do not look like a typical state-based workers’ comp program.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Employees who qualify for workers’ compensation must have received their injuries while performing their jobs. For example, if you suffer injuries driving a truck while making deliveries for your employer, your workplace will likely provide coverage. If you suffer injuries in a car accident while traveling to or from work, however, your injuries typically do not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.
Workers’ compensation may also cover injuries received in the workplace during a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or act of violence.
Expenses Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation provides medical coverage. Generally, coverage lasts as long as it takes for the employee to recover. Medical benefits may include payments for medications, medical equipment, doctor visits, nursing care, and physical therapy.
Qualified employees also will receive a portion of their wages. How much of your pay is covered, and for how long, will depend on state laws, the severity of your injuries, and whether you are permanently or temporarily disabled.
If your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous line of employment, workers’ compensation benefits may also include vocational rehabilitation. If a worker dies from a workplace accident, workers’ compensation pays benefits to his or her family, including funeral and burial costs.
Suing Your Employer for Other Damages
In most cases, you cannot sue your employer if you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits. However, you may have a lawsuit against a third party. If your injuries resulted from faulty or defective equipment, you may have a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
If you suffered injuries because of an unsafe job site, a property or building owner may hold liability. An attorney can examine your case and assist you in filing a lawsuit, if applicable.
Handling Your Claims
An attorney can help you calculate the compensation you may be eligible for. The insurer reviewing your claim will have lawyers on their side. An attorney can be on your side looking out for you.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can:
- Help gather evidence – this may include medical bills, diagnostic test results, and an official diagnosis of your condition.
- Estimate your damages – a workers’ compensation lawyer can determine what constitutes a fair settlement offer. This may help ensure you receive enough compensation to pay for the costs you have already incurred, as well as future damages related to your injury.
- Work with witnesses – a lawyer can obtain statements from others who witnessed your accident, as well as from vocational and medical experts.
- Help with appeals – an attorney can represent you during the appeals process.
Get in Touch with Ben Crump Law, PLLC
If you are ready to find help handling your workers’ compensation claim, reach out to Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 603-4224. Our team can help you learn more through a no-risk, no-cost consultation. You do not have to deal with your workers’ compensation case alone.