Labor and Employment

Workers' Compensation When You're Injured on the Job

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that covers employees who are injured or die as a result of performing their job. It allows employees to receive payments for medical and other costs for a work-related injury and illness without having to sue their employers. Workers' compensation helps employers save money by preventing worker-injury lawsuits.

Employers Pay for Workers' Comp

State laws set up the majority of workers' compensation programs. They require most employers to provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees. Employers pay the entire cost for this insurance. Some states require businesses to buy private insurance. Other states require businesses to participate in a state-run workers' compensation insurance program. Some states allow businesses to choose private insurance or the state program. Federal laws govern workers' compensation for federal employees and certain other types of employees, such as longshoremen and coal miners.

Some Businesses Are Exempt

Businesses that have no employees are not subject to workers' compensation regulations. Partnerships and unincorporated businesses owned by one person commonly have no employees. Officers of a company usually have the option of not being covered by workers' compensation.

Workers' Comp Covers Employees

State laws spell out who qualifies as an employee covered by workers' compensation. Full-time and part-time employees are usually covered. People who volunteer their services to nonprofit organizations do not qualify for workers' compensation. When a worker is injured on the job or becomes sick as a result of the assigned work, the person must inform the employer immediately and seek medical assistance from an approved provider. Then, the worker files a claim for workers' compensation. If the employer or insurance company agrees that the injury or illness is work-related, they pay the claim. Workers' compensation benefits will not be paid if the employee's injury or death resulted from intoxication.

Workers' Comp Provides Certain Benefits

Workers' compensation provides other benefits as well. These include compensation for lost wages, costs for physical therapy, and prescription drugs. If the worker dies because of a work-related injury or illness, the employee's surviving spouse, children, or other dependents receive a death benefit. This benefit is usually based on the employee's yearly salary.

State Agencies Oversee Workers' Comp

State agencies process workers' compensation claims and resolve disputes. For example, if an insurance company rejects a workers' compensation claim, the employee can file an appeal. The state's workers' compensation agency then decides whether the employee should receive compensation.

A Lawyer Can Help

The law related to workers' compensation insurance coverage can be complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an employment or workers' compensation lawyer.

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