A worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. That equates to 4.5 million injured workers per year and 104,000,000 days of lost productivity due to work-related injuries.
If you’re injured on the job, you’ll probably find yourself asking, “how does workers’ comp work?” If so, these answers to frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation will help you understand what to do next.
How Does Workers’ Comp Work?
Workers’ compensation is a set of laws designed to financially assist employees who are injured at work. The laws are different in each state. Your state runs the system, and your employer is required to make contributions.
If you are an employee of the federal government, then the Department of Labor’s Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs administers its own program.
The system of workers’ compensation was created to stop expensive lawsuits between employees and their employers that were previously required for employees to obtain any type of compensation for on-the-job injuries.
Because of the protection that workers’ compensation provides, you can no longer sue your employer for work-related injuries unless the injury falls within a specific exception determined by your state’s worker’s compensation laws.
Challenges arise when an employer disputes an employee’s workers’ compensation claim. Employers have an interest in disputing claims because their contribution to the system can be affected by the number of claims paid out to their employees.
If a dispute arises, then the state workers’ compensation board will investigate the claim and give a decision. One of the state’s doctors evaluates the employee’s injuries. Any statements made by the employee can be used by the employer to dispute the claim.
If the board does not rule in the employee’s favor, then they can appeal the decision.
Depending on the state, employers may also obtain private workers’ compensation insurance to pay out and adjudicate claims.
Who Pays for Workers’ Comp?
Employers pay for workers’ compensation. They either pay into the state system or have a policy with private insurance companies. Employees’ workers’ compensation benefits are paid out by the state system or the private insurance company.
Why Types of Benefits Can I Receive?
There are three types of benefits an injured employee can receive through workers’ compensation: wage benefits, medical benefits, and disability benefits.
Wage benefits are paid at a certain percentage of your weekly wage. The percentage varies from state to state. It is generally calculated by averaging your wages for a specific amount of time prior to your accident.
Medical benefits are paid out by your employer and their insurance company. You should not receive a bill from doctors or hospitals.
Disability benefits may be paid out if your injury leaves you temporarily or permanently disabled.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
If your employer contests your workers’ compensation claim, or if the state or insurance company denies your claim, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you.
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Now you’ll no longer ask yourself “how does workers’ comp work?”
We have plenty of information on how to protect yourself and your financial interests in the event you are injured on the job.