Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy which each state mandates to provide compensation to injured employees who obtained their injury while on the job. These benefits are given regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness. Part of accepting these benefits is relinquishing your right to sue your employer for damages due to the injury.
If you would like to understand the regulations regarding worker’s compensation in your state, we highly suggest checking out the State Workers’ Compensation Officials web page. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about workers’ compensation below.
Does Workers’ Compensation Apply To All Injuries On The Job?
Workers’ compensation was established to cover employee injuries that happen while doing a job, regardless of who is at fault. However, there are some restrictions that these benefits will not cover for an injured employee. These include the following situations:
- Employee Was Intoxicated Or Under The Influence Of Illegal Drugs
- Self-Inflicted Injuries
- The Employee’s Action Leading To The Injury Violated The Company’s Policy
- The Worker Was Injured While Committing A Crime
- The Employee Was Not On The Job
If an employee is injured due to one of the situations mentioned above, it’s highly unlikely they will be given workers’ compensation benefits.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Long-Term Illnesses?
These benefits cover short and long-term injuries and illnesses. In most cases of illness, an employee experiences a gradual disease due to working conditions. These typically are lung diseases, stress-related digestive problems, and heart conditions.
In some cases, repetitive or overuse injuries can occur over a lengthy period of time. These include injuries like chronic back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. An employee may not notice these repetitive stress injuries for many years.
Does An Injury Have To Occur At Your Place Of Work For It To Be Covered?
You do not have to obtain your injury at your place of work for you to be covered by workers’ compensation. As long as you were doing a job-related task you will be covered. For example, traveling for business, attending a business-related function, or running a work-related errand.
Is Everyone Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
No, everyone is not covered by workers’ compensation. Not all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Each State will require different laws for employers regarding whether or not they are required to have this type of coverage.
These laws include restrictions such as the number of employees, type of work performed, and the type of business an employer does. In addition to these restrictions, there are some established exclusions that apply. In most states, farmers, season workers, and domestic employees are exclusions. This means an employer is not required to have workers’ compensation coverage for these employees.
Can I Sue My Employer Over My Injury?
If you felt there was an intentional action or recklessness that resulted in your injury, you may sue your employer. This assumes that you do not file for workers’ compensation benefits, rather, you collect damages from the employer for your injury in the case that you win your lawsuit. These damages can be for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and punitive damages.
Realize that when you file for workers’ compensation benefits, in many cases you relinquish your right to sue your employer. If you feel that you can win a better settlement in a court case, that may be the best option as compared to filing for workers’ compensation. You should speak to a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options in full.
What Is Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is designed to help pay for all expenses related to the injury or illness that you obtained while on the job. These include the following:
- Hospital And Other Medical Expenses To Diagnose And Treat Your Condition
- Disability Payments (Usually Two-Thirds Of Your Regular Pay Rate)
- Rehabilitation And Retraining
These benefits are to ensure that you are still financially stable after a workplace injury or illness happens.
Can I Use My Own Doctor For Treatment?
The regulations regarding which doctor you may see will vary depending on the state in which you reside. Some states allow for an employee to provide a written letter of request at the time they are hired, prior to any injury occurring, to see their personal doctor in the instance of a workplace injury.
However, some states mandate that you see a physician which is recruited by the employer. The employer will pay the physician to provide you with medical treatment and a diagnosis. You should check with your employer and the regulations in your State to verify which doctor you can see.
By understanding more about workers’ compensation benefits you will be better prepared to handle a situation in which you find yourself injured at the workplace. As always, speaking with a trained workers’ compensation attorney in your State will ensure you know the extent of your rights when it comes to collecting on your benefits.