The 4-1-1 on Workers’ Compensation Insurance

One of the responsibilities of owning a business is the provision of a safe work environment. If one of your employees is injured on the job, you can be held liable for financial concerns related to the incident. Workers Compensation Insurance provides benefits to help cover the injured employee’s expenses while they recover. In so doing, employers are afforded protection from any resulting litigation. Still, as simple as that sounds, there are a number of elements of which you need to be aware.

Here’s the 411 on Workers Compensation Insurance.

What It Is

Workers Compensation Insurance is a requirement in every state except Texas. But Texans are also subject to Workers Comp notification and reporting requirements. Some businesses are exempt, depending upon the number of employees they have. Independent contractors, domestic workers, and volunteers are not eligible for coverage. While each state differs slightly, the overall structure and functioning of Workers Compensation Insurance is consistent from state to state.

What It Covers

Injuries or illnesses directly related to an employee’s job are covered. However, the injury needn’t occur at the place of employment. Injuries sustained while traveling on business, running office errands, or attending business-related social functions are also covered. In addition to accidents, repetitive strain, stress injuries and diseases contracted as a result of workplace conditions fall under workers comp as well.

Employees Can Still Sue You If…

If you can be proven to have engaged in reckless actions from which an employee injury resulted, the worker can still take you to court. This can also happen if you fail to provide Workers Compensation Insurance for your employees. Workers also have the right to sue implicated third parties. This can include manufacturers of defective products leading to injuries or the other driver in a work-related automobile accident.

What It Doesn’t Cover

Self-inflicted injuries and trauma sustained from a physical altercation the employee instigated are not covered. Further, injuries sustained while an employee is engaging in illegal activity are exempt from coverage.

Your Responsibilities Include

You are required to post conspicuous notices informing employees of their rights under Workers Compensation law. These must be in a place frequented by workers on a regular basis, such as the employee break room, lunchroom or areas adjacent to lavatories. The notices must include details about workers comp benefits and name the company’s insurance carrier.  It should also list the name of the individual responsible for adjusting claims.

You are required to provide injured workers with forms needed to file claims within 24 hours of an incident. The clock starts running on this the moment you know about the injury, even if it’s before the employee formally informs you.  It is also your responsibility to provide workers with printed materials outlining their benefits, as well as everything they need to file a claim.

As mentioned above, the exact 411 on Workers Compensation Insurance will vary from state to state. To get the fine details of the law where you operate, contact the state’s department of industrial relations or workers’ compensation.

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