Getting injured on the job can prevent you from doing what you were hired to do while costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical expenses to recover. That’s why workers compensation was introduced in order to keep employees safe. By ensuring all employees are covered with workers compensation, companies can protect themselves legally while also making sure their workforce doesn’t need to worry financially in the event of injury.

What is Workers Compensation?

For those unfamiliar with the term, workers compensation insurance is a form of coverage required by every state, that offers medical and wage benefits to employees injured or who fell ill while on the job. The extent of these benefits will vary state-by-state. Any company or owner that refuses to purchase workers compensation insurance can face fines or imprisonment, along with being forced to pay out of pocket for any claims.

If an employee is injured during their work, they must report to a doctor right away for a medical assessment. With this report, which supports what is outlined on a worker’s compensation claim filed with the insurance agency, the injured employee can receive payment and return to work when ready.

How is Workers Compensation Different Than Personal Injury?

Workers compensation and personal injury claims are often used interchangeably, but they are different. The primary difference between workers compensation and personal injury is that the former is a form of insurance whereas a personal injury claim is a legal filing. Additionally, personal injury can occur anywhere, such as during a car accident on the way to the grocery store, whereas workers compensation only comes into play during an injury on the job.

On top of this, a person is required to prove the negligence of another party for a personal injury case. This means they must prove:

  • The other party had a duty of care against other parties
  • There was a breach of that duty of care
  • The breach led to an accident or injury
  • Damage was sustained as a result of the event

With a worker’s compensation claim, negligence does not need to be proved, and there is no court filing involved whatsoever. It’s worth noting that filing a worker’s compensation claim means you relinquish your right to sue your employer.

However, a party may be able to file both a personal injury claim and worker’s compensation claim if the injury occurred on the job and was also the result of extreme negligence on behalf the employer. Eligibility to file both is a case-by-case basis, so consult a personal injury lawyer if you believe your workplace accident may also qualify for a personal injury claim.

The Different Types of Workers Compensation

Given that benefits from workers compensation are a form of insurance, there are a number of different types employers provide for employees:

Medical Care Benefits

The most common form of workers compensation comes in the form of medical care benefits. All medical treatment that is reasonably required to cure or relieve the effects of an injury obtained in the workplace will be covered under this type of workers compensation. An injured employee must submit for a treatment request but may receive a denial notice for some treatments if it is deemed unnecessary for the healing process.

Examples of medical care items that may be covered under workers compensation include: hospitalization, physician services, x-rays, laboratory services, and more.

Temporary Disability Benefits

When a workplace accident temporarily prevents a worker from returning to their pre-injury job or another job with the same employer, they are qualified for can receive compensation in the form of temporarily disability benefits. In most cases, once they are healed, a worker will return to work and temporary disability benefits will end.

Permanent Disability Benefits

On the other hand, a workplace accident which is so severe that the former employee must live with a permanent disability that stops them from returning to work is eligible for this form of benefits. This form of workers compensation also has a subset known as partial permanent disability benefits which are paid when a worker has permanent disabilities, but those disabilities do not completely stop their ability to work.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits

Supplemental job displacement benefits are a unique subset of workers compensation insurance. This is a non-transferable voucher that can be used by an injured employee to pay for educational retraining or skill building that can help them get another job after the accident. This voucher can be used at state-accredited schools, which are typically listed by the workers compensation insurance agency.

Death Benefits

Finally, workers compensation insurance plans will include death benefits for employees who die on the job. This includes up to $10,000 towards burial expenses, along with compensation ranging from $250,000-$320,000 depending on the number of dependents left behind by the employee. In most cases, death benefits will continue until the youngest minor’s 18th birthday comes to pass, with disabled minors eligible to receive benefits for life.

The best part about workers compensation is that employees don’t need to do anything in order to qualify for the compensation besides work for the company and be injured on the job.

In recent years, there was a 9% increase in preventable work related deaths, along with 4.3 million medically consulted injuries. Getting hurt on the job can happen in any industry, but those working in construction, agriculture, and manufacturing are at the highest risk. Ensure your workplace has workers compensation and contact a lawyer if you are uncovered.

Receive compensation for your workplace situation Getting hurt on the job is a frustrating situation, but it doesn’t have to drain your savings account. Every workplace should have some form of workers compensation that applies to qualified employees so that you stay covered on the job. However, if your workplace doesn’t have coverage or you believe a more serious lawsuit is required, don’t hesitate to reach out to a certified lawyer as soon as possible.