In the early 1900s the amount of injuries and deaths by railroad workers was climbing at astronomical rates. Employees would go to work trying to earn a living and come home bruised, battered, or sometimes killed on the job. In 1889, President Harrison recognized the problem and enacted the Federal Employers Liability Act, which was, in effect, the country’s first workers’ comp policy.
Today, workers’ comp is state-mandated and provides benefits to employees who are hut on the job. Each state has slightly different laws and programs, but they are all fairly similar. The program overall is designed to provide services to the employee, while protecting the employer from liability, keeping everyone safe on the job.
Workers’ Comp for Employees:
Do I have to be injured on the job to be covered by workers’ comp?
Not necessarily. Any injury that is job-related can be covered. For example, you can be covered if you’re injured while traveling on business or attending a business social function.
Are all work-related injuries covered by workers’ compensation?
Most, but not all. If you inflict an injury because you’re intoxicated or using illegal drugs, coverage can be denied. Coverage can also be denied if you’re violating company policy.
What about long-term conditions or illnesses?
Not all job-related injuries are accidents. Some injuries develop over time like back problems, stress injuries, heart conditions, etc. Any condition must be proven to be “arising out of employment and occurring during the course of employment” (aka:100% related to your job). This can be more difficult to prove but makes it possible to receive some coverage for certain conditions.
What does workers’ comp cover?
Typically, benefits pay for hospital and medical expenses as well as disability payments while you’re unable to work.
Are all employees covered?
No. Coverage is issued based on how big the company is and excludes certain types of workers like seasonal or casual employees.
Can I still sue my employer over an injury?
Maybe. If the workers’ comp offered isn’t sufficient, of if the employer was grossly negligent, you may be able to sue for a full range of damaged.
Workers’ Comp Basics for Employers:
Do I have to carry coverage:
Yes. Unless you live in Texas. In most other states, every employer must have coverage, even if you only have one employee. However, private employers in Texas don’t have to carry workers’ comp coverage. You do not have to have coverage for independent contractors, volunteers, or seasonal workers.
What happens if I don’t have coverage?
If you don’t have sufficient coverage and an employee gets hurt, you are subject to steep fines, criminal charges, and lawsuits from the injured employee.
Are there any additional responsibilities?
In addition to carrying insurance, employers must post required notices that include important information about employees’ rights. These notices must have details about available workers’ compensation and the name of the company’s workers’ compensation carrier or responsible party.
What do I do when someone gets hurt?
When an employee is injured, employers must provide them a workers’ compensation claim form with instructions on how to file a claim. This must be done within 24 hours after notice of an on-the-job injury or work-related illness.
Do I have to handle this all on my own?
Absolutely not. One of the best things to do with Workers’ Comp insurance is hire an outside firm to handle it for you. This limits your liability while ensuring your employees receive the care and benefits they are entitled to. It also ensures you get the best coverage without overpaying for benefits you aren’t required to have. Magellan, HCM can provide workers’ compensation coverage, claim assistance, and education for both you and your employees.