If you are hurt on the job, it’s important that you know what options are available to you to alleviate the anxiety of unpaid medical bills. While Workers’ Compensation won’t solve all of your problems, it should at least help with the financial burden the injury has created.
Workers’ Compensation in a Nutshell
Often called “Workers’ Comp,” Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of insurance purchased by employers for the coverage of employment-related injuries and illnesses. It is a state-mandated program consisting of payments that are made to an employee who is injured or disabled in connection with work. It is required and varies slightly by state, as every individual state has its own workers’ compensation insurance program. In Florida, the Division of Workers’ Compensation site attempts to ensure that anyone interested or involved in the Florida workers’ compensation system has the tools and resources they need to participate. The site assists injured workers, employers, health care providers, and insurers in following the Florida Workers’ Compensation Rules and Laws.
In most situations, injured employees receive workers’ compensation insurance, no matter who was at fault for the injury. Because these workers’ comp benefits act as a type of insurance, they keep the employee from suing his or her employer for the injuries covered. It is designed to cover injuries that result from employees or employers carelessness.
Situations That Are Covered
It should be noted that workers’ compensation benefits DO NOT cover pain and suffering. Rather they cover tangible expenses including: medical care from the injury or illness, replacement income, costs for retraining, compensation for any permanent injuries, and benefits to survivors of workers who are killed on the job.
The range of injuries and situations covered is broad, but there are limits. Not ALL problems that occur in the workplace are covered. Coverage may be denied in situations involving: injuries caused by intoxication or drugs, self-inflicted injuries, injuries from a fight started by the employee, injuries resulting from horseplay or violation of company policy, felony-related injuries, injuries an employee suffers off the job, or injuries claimed after an employee is terminated or laid off.
Who Receives Worker’s Comp
Most types of employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are some exceptions. States commonly exclude some workers from coverage, such as: independent contractors, business owners, volunteers, employees of private homes, farmers and farmhands, maritime employees, railroad employees, and casual workers.
Dollars and Cents
As a general rule, an employee who is temporarily unable to work will usually receive temporary disability payments of two-thirds of the employee’s average wage, up to a fixed amount set by law. An employee who becomes permanently unable to do the work he or she was doing prior to the injury, or unable to work at all, may be eligible for long-term or lump-sum benefits for permanent disability. The workers’ compensation system also pays death benefits to surviving dependents of workers who pass away from work-related injuries. The eligibility for wage replacement begins immediately after a few days of work are missed because of a particular injury or illness.
If it is the best fit for your situation, Workers’ Comp can be a huge help during a very difficult circumstance. You might need help navigating the legal end of it if you don’t understand the insurance company’s approval of the workers’ compensation claim or if you disagree with the doctor’s perception of your injury – for example, if you feel more ill or injured than the doctor thinks you are.