Under workers' compensation, employers are required to purchase insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer from work-related injuries and illnesses. Workers' compensation laws cover only work-related injury or illness, but the injury or illness doesn't have to happen in the workplace. As long as it's job-related, it will be covered. For instance, employees are covered if they are injured while traveling for business, running a work errand or attending a business-related social function.
Injuries and illnesses range from sudden accidents to injuries that happen over time, like computer-related repetitive stress injuries or illnesses that result for exposure to chemicals. Workers can also receive compensation for illnesses and disease that are the result of working conditions.
What Doesn't It Cover
Coverage may be denied in the following situations:
- Injuries caused by drugs or intoxication
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries from a fight started by the employee
- Injuries resulting from violation of company policy
- Felony-related injuries
- Injuries an employee suffers off the job
- Injuries claimed after an employee is laid-off or fired
- Injuries to an independent contractor
Benefits Available under Workers' Compensation
The workers' compensation system includes:
- Replacement income when employees are out of work
- Payments for medical expenses, including doctors' visits, surgeries and prescription drugs
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits, including on-the-job training, education or job placement assistance
Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance
If a business does not have the workers' compensation coverage required by law, employees can file a lawsuit against the business in civil court.
Post Notices and Advise Employees about Legal Rights
Post required notices in a convenient location. These notices must include important information about employee rights and:
- Provide the name of the company's workers' comp carrier. If you are self-insured, list who is responsible for claims adjustment.
- State that injured workers have the right to receive medical treatment and select or change doctors
- Give details about available workers' compensation benefits
Provide Claim Forms to Injured Employers
Employers must provide injured employees with a workers' compensation claim form within 24 hours of learning about the injury. Employers must also give the employee written information about employee rights under the system.