As a worker, you want to rest assured you will be safe in the workplace. However, as accidents can always happen, knowing that you are well taken care of in case an injury occurs is also beneficial. That is where workers’ compensation comes into the picture. Here is what you need to know.
Each country has its own workers’ compensation laws
First of all, it’s important that you look into your country’s or state’s laws regarding workers’ compensation as they tend to vary across the globe. These laws will determine if you can choose your own healthcare provider or your employer will direct you to a panel of medical professionals. Moreover, see if there is a law in place that protects you from employer retaliation, meaning that your employer cannot demote you or lower your salary.
You may be entitled to workers’ compensation
If you get injured on the job, you may receive workers’ compensation. The scenarios covered include slipping and falling, twisting your ankle, spraining your back from lifting, and getting injured while operating all kinds of machinery. On the other hand, self-inflicted injuries, idiopathic falls, and injuries sustained while taking part in off-duty activities may not be covered under workers’ compensation.
It can be used to cover your lost wages and medical bills
Workers’ compensation is in place to help injured workers get through their recovery. This insurance scheme is often used to pay off medical bills, hospital stays, and all other costs of physical rehabilitation. As oftentimes the injured worker has to miss work, workers’ comp also covers their wages. Furthermore, if the injury means that you have to take a job that pays less, the difference in wages is also covered here. Finally, workers’ comp means that you might get a lump-sum payment if an injury is permanent, and in case of death, your family is entitled to compensation and the funeral expenses will be handled.
Not all employers have workers’ compensation
Something that you need to keep in mind is the fact that not all employers have workers’ compensation. For example, some states don’t cover farmers, domestic workers, seasonal help, and volunteers. What is more, some employers simply don’t have this type of insurance, for which they can face stiff fines. With that in mind, it’s vital that you check your employer’s policy and see if you are protected. However, it’s also important to see if you can make a claim through the government.
You might be able to sue your employer
No matter if your employer has workers’ compensation or not, you might be able to sue them for negligence. Remember that simply claiming this insurance does not mean that you are going against your employer but if you believe that the work conditions were unsafe and unhealthful, you can consider taking them to court. If this is something you are thinking about, it would be best to consult with personal injury lawyers to see if you have a case. Additionally, you can also sue a third party that might have played a role in your injury. For instance, if you get into a car accident while traveling for work.
It’s vital to report the incident or injury straight away
In case a workplace incident happens, it’s of vital importance to report it straight away. Of course, you want to contact emergency services as soon as possible if the injury is serious. However, with minor injuries and incidents, you should inform your supervisors of the accident so that they can provide you with the necessary medical help and give you an incident report to fill out. Moreover, keep in mind that something is wrong if the employer doesn’t give you any paperwork or call their insurance provider.
Follow the application process precisely
In order to be able to claim your workers’ comp, you need to follow the application process exactly. That means that there are strict deadlines you need to meet and paperwork you need to submit. For starters, not reporting the injury right away can result in you losing your right to compensation. Then, when talking to a healthcare professional, you want to state that the injury is work-related and ensure they write it down in their notes. Otherwise, your compensation claim might be rejected. In addition, while you are allowed a second opinion, you might have to visit a particular doctor, clinic, or hospital to be covered by workers’ comp.
Make sure you’re sober at work
Although this should go without saying, you should ensure you are always sober at work. Seeing as how most employers require workers to take a drug test after an incident, a positive test means that your claim will be denied and you will be paying your own medical bills.
As most industries require employers to have workers’ compensation, you should be covered in case of an incident in the workplace. It’s always recommended to learn more about the insurance that your employer has in place to know how to act if something happens.