Worker’s Compensation plans were initiated in an effort to protect both employers and employees. They are beneficial to employers because the plans protect them from lawsuit. This enables them to accurately budget expenses for claims. Employees benefit because they can continue to receive cash payments while injured, along with some or all of related medical costs. While Worker’s Compensation statutes differ between states, the basic remain the same.
In most states, employers contract with private insurance companies for coverage. A few states maintain a public fund, to which employers must contribute, to pay claims to injured workers. Some states use a combination of the two methods. Most employers carry private insurance and the state steps in to cover employers that insurers reject.
In general, workers who are injured on the job, whether from accident or occupational illness, are entitled to receive a percentage of their salary until they can return to work. There is usually a waiting period of several days before the program begins. In some states, payments continue until the employee can resume normal work duties, even if this takes years. Other states pay for a set time frame, after which a lump sum settlement is made if the employee still cannot work.
Medical expenses related to the covered injury or illness are covered in full or in part, depending on the state. Prescriptions, medical equipment, doctors, hospitals, physical therapy, and rehabilitation services are included.
If an employee can work, but not in the position he or she held prior to the injury, most states will provide training to place the employee in a different job. For example, a factory worker who can no longer stand for long periods of time might receive computer training. In most cases, an employee who has been deemed capable of working in this new job must work or forfeit benefits.
Anyone injured in the workplace should report such injury immediately to a member of management. The manager or supervisor will obtain statements from all who witnessed the incident. The injured worker will usually be tested for drugs, since alcohol or illegal drugs are normally grounds for denying a claim. Normally, there are doctors and hospitals designated by the employer or his insurance company for treatment throughout the claim period.
Employees receiving Worker’s Compensation payments are expected to make an effort to recover by following medical instructions, including any recommended therapy programs. In most states, they can be dropped from the program for refusing to attend re-training classes. They can also find payments stopped if they are found capable of doing light duty work and they refuse to work.
If harmed relating to the job, or made sick by toxins or working conditions, it is vital that workers report the injury and file worker’s compensation claims immediately. managers and supervisors should offer workers claims forms to fill out. It can also be beneficial to consult an attorney who specializes in worker’s compensation law, if the worker suspects the employer or the insurance company could challenge his / her claim.