5 Things Every Employee Should Know about Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that extends benefits to full-time workers who have been injured while on the job. It compensates them for medical expenses and wage loss while remaining out of work.
Many workers in the United States are unaware of how workers’ compensation works and who it protects. Even if the employees are aware of this policy, they sometimes fear the possible ramifications of filing a claim. Fortunately, the law offers protection to employees who seek workers’ compensation, meaning that employers who do “punish” workers for filing a claim can expect a legal response.
Discover the five things that every employee should know about their right to workers’ compensation.
1. If you suffer an illness or injury while working, you are likely eligible for workers’ compensation
Injuries while on the job may include any minor or major harm, including a twisted ankle, machinery accident, or a slip or fall. The first crucial step is to report your injury to your manager or employer. Keep note that when you file a claim for workers’ compensation, you’re waiving your right to file a lawsuit.
However, there are a few incidents where workers’ compensation is not allowed; this may include intentional injuries or if a worker gets injured while voluntarily taking part in off-duty work.
Once you report your illness or injury and file a claim, the insurance carrier will review and accept or deny your claim within 21 days. If they accept your claim, they will issue a check within another 7 to 14 days.
If the insurance denies your claim, you may have other options available, and that’s when speaking with a lawyer will provide your available options.
2. You will receive workers’ compensation for medical bills and lost wages
Employees are also entitled to receive a part of their income while unable to work. During the healing period, the two types of temporary wage loss provided are:
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
Here’s a breakdown of the different areas where this insurance policy compensates:
- Hospital or medical bills and associated costs with rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Lump-sum payment if you suffer a permanent injury
- Family support
- Funeral expenses
- The wage difference if you have to take up a lower-paying job due to the injury/illness
Eligibility to obtain these benefits depends upon documented proof by a certified doctor. Eligible employees will also get the necessary coverage for medical expenses.
3. Your employer must provide you with their coverage information
Every employer is obliged to produce a workers’ compensation plan, coverage, and procedure, depending on the state laws. You must receive this information when joining the company.
However, you may not remember every detail over time. If that is the case, feel free to ask your employer for documentation and information about the workers’ compensation coverage.
4. You are protected from being fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim
One of the most common fears among workers is that they might upset their employer if they file a claim. It is against the law for your employer to fire you over a workers’ compensation claim. If they do, speak with a lawyer immediately because the law protects employees from termination due to workers’ compensation claims.
You can further help your case by keeping documentation of the injury, medical treatment, and communication with your employer.
5. You must follow the deadlines strictly
As a responsible employee, make sure to look out for these deadlines:
- After you suffer any injury at work, you need to report it immediately and within 30 days, as per Florida laws. Other states may ask employees to report their injury within a specific deadline, usually ranging between 10-90 days.
- You will need to file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the incident according to Florida’s standards. Some states allow a larger claim filing window. For instance, in Wisconsin, you can file a claim within 6 years from the date of injury.
Most importantly, remember that filing a claim does not make you a burden. In fact, it is your right. So, speak with an attorney today if you need assistance filing for workers’ compensation or believe you have a case. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.