Workers’ compensation insurance is a federally mandated, state-regulated insurance program that protects your business if an employee gets injured or becomes ill as a result of work-related activities. Workers’ compensation insurance is intended to help workers get back on their feet and back to work by providing benefits to employees. These benefits include paying medical bills, covering lost wages, rehabilitation, and retraining. However, because of the complex nature of worker’s compensation insurance business owners often have misconceptions regarding their coverage and what their capabilities are.
The following are general answers to some of the most common questions business owners have regarding worker’s compensation insurance. It is important to note that specific rules vary state by state and the best way to get specific answers is to contact your worker’s compensation insurance agent.
If an employee is injured on the job, can I choose their medical provider?
In some states, an injured worker must be seen by a doctor chosen by the employer or the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier. Other states allow injured employees to select any doctor within a network. Which providers are in-network can be determined by the state, employer, or the employer’s insurance company.
Does worker’s compensation insurance cover medical consultations or just treatment?
In most situations, worker’s compensation insurance covers both medical consultations and treatment. The important factor is to obtain immediate and appropriate medical attention for the on the job injury and the employee. It is also vital to immediately report the injury to your worker’s compensation insurance carrier so that they can quickly determine the best course of action to help the injured employee.
My employee is at fault for the injury, so I do not have to file a worker’s compensation claim or cover the injury.
Worker’s compensation is “no-fault” which means that even if the employee is at fault, they can still get worker’s compensation insurance coverage for their work-related injury. Depending on the situation, i.e. when negligence is involved, the injury may not be covered. However, you should still file the claim and work with the insurance company to determine coverage.
Can I terminate an employee for filing a worker’s compensation claim?
No. An employee cannot be terminated in retaliation for filing a claim.
Does worker’s compensation insurance cover injuries and illnesses that occur outside of the job site?
Worker’s compensation insurance covers injuries and illnesses sustained during performing any required job duties. Some cases may warrant a special examination to determine eligibility.
My state doesn’t require me to carry worker’s compensation insurance, so I don’t need it, right?
It is important to remember that even if your state does not require that you carry workers compensation insurance, you are still required to cover expenses if an employee sustains a work-related injury. Carrying workers’ compensation insurance protects your company from the potentially overwhelming costs associated with work-related accidents or an employee filed a lawsuit. Even if you are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance by state law, it is a smart business decision.
The worker’s compensation claim was paid and now it is done, and case closed, right?
Wrong. You and your employee need to maintain contact in order to monitor healing and make sure that the transition back to the workplace goes smoothly. Some companies offer return-to-work programs that will help with the process but open communication aids in making sure the employee can get back to work as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining a steady recovery process from their workplace injury.
Worker’s compensation insurance can be confusing and hard to navigate. The best way to get all your questions answered and ensure that your business and employees are protected is to sit down with an insurance agent. Call Gannon Associates Insurance at 844-GANNONS and ask to speak with our Commercial Department today.