What are My Employees’ Workers’ Compensation Rights?

The best employees work for the best employers.

It starts and the top, and the best employers have their workers’ needs in mind in all their decisions. That means choosing the right type of workers’ comp insurance, making sure it meets the requirements of state law, and that it will cover employees when they need it.

Workers who are properly covered thrive and help businesses grow and succeed.


Understanding Workers’ Comp

Business owners who will be hiring employees must understand what workers’ compensation is so that they can make the best decisions about buying a plan. Laws regarding workers’ comp protect employees in the event they become injured or ill on the job. They ensure that injured or disabled workers receive monetary compensation. This helps to reduce litigation.

The workers’ compensation laws also address the rights of dependents of workers killed while working. In both situations—injury or death—the laws put limits on how much workers or their families can claim. This protects the employer and other workers.

Workers’ compensation insurance is just one type of insurance that employers purchase. Health insurance benefits employees by covering the costs of illnesses and medical care not related to work. Disability insurance is a special type of health insurance that covers lost income over a short-term or long-term period of missed work.

Many businesses also have general liability insurance. This covers third-party damages, not employee injuries or disabilities. For instance, if an employee damages someone else’s property, that third party could sue, but liability insurance covers the costs of the damage.


What Rights Do Employees Have?

Federal workers’ comp laws cover federal employees. For all other workers, the laws that apply depending on the state in which they are employed. It’s important to understand workmen’s comp laws state-by-state because they differ.

For example, in Alabama, employers with five or more employees must provide their workers with this type of insurance. In Arizona, on the other hand, businesses with at least one full-time employee must have workers’ compensation. There are consequences for not holding workers’ comp, including fines or even imprisonment.

Coverage varies by plan and depends on what individual states require.

As the experts at TriNet’s benefits administration explain, choosing the right plan not only benefits your employees but also help your company acquire the right talent. Generally, an employee’s benefits plan covers:
  • To file a claim for an illness or an injury that resulted from work or occurred while on the job
  • To get adequate medical care for a work-related injury or illness
  • To receive benefits in the event of a permanent injury and disability
  • To appeal the decision of a court in the matter of compensation and benefits
  • To work with a lawyer


What’s Covered Under Workers’ Comp?

Coverage varies by plan and depends on what individual states require, but in general, workers’ compensation insurance covers:

  • Medical expenses – Workers’ comp covers the costs of needed care after a workplace injury or illness, including emergency room visits, surgeries, doctor appointments, and prescriptions.
  • Lost wages – If an employee must miss work time because of an injury, the insurance covers at least some of their wages during that time.
  • Ongoing care costs – Severe illnesses or injuries may require ongoing care or rehabilitation, like physical therapy. Workers’ comp can cover this.
  • Funeral costs – In the event, a worker dies on the job, insurance covers at least some of the funeral costs and provides compensation to dependents.


When an Employee Files a Claim

Having workers’ compensation insurance in place is essential for businesses, but it is also necessary to understand the process. When a claim is filed, it generally follows these steps:

  1. The employee reports the incident to the employer, providing the date and necessary details.
  2. The employer provides them with the information and paperwork for filing a claim. Ideally, this information is given to employees soon after hiring.
  3. The employer files the claim with the insurance provider.
  4. The insurer may deny or approve the claim.
  5. If approved, the employee can accept the compensation or negotiate for changes.
  6. If denied, the employee may appeal.
  7. When the employee is ready to return to work, they must notify the employer and the insurer in writing.

Workers in most businesses have a right to protection through workers’ comp insurance. It is up to the employer to be informed of the state laws, to understand employee rights, to provide an appropriate plan, and to take proper steps to seek benefits when a worker is hurt on the job.

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