Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions
It is important to understand workers’ compensation laws in your state as both an employer and an employee. Workers’ compensation insurance can help protect your business and employees in events including falling on ice, injuries while moving office furniture, car accidents following client visits, and more. Below are the 10 most frequently asked workers’ compensation questions.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers' compensation insurance helps protect businesses and their employees from financial loss when an employee is hurt on the job or gets sick from a work-related cause. Workers’ compensation is also known as workman’s comp, workman’s compensation, and workers’ comp. These terms all mean the same thing and help protect workers from potentially devastating costs of work-related injuries. It also helps protect employers from potential damages that could cripple a business based on workers’ comp claims. Learn more about what is workers’ compensation insurance.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Another frequently asked question includes the coverage of workers’ compensation insurance. The Hartford’s workers’ compensation insurance helps cover medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing care costs, as well as funeral expenses if an employee is hurt, becomes sick, or dies as a result of a work-related accident or illness.
What Is Not Covered by Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation insurance can help protect your business and employees in the event of a covered loss, but some situations take place on the job that are not covered by workman's comp insurance. These vary from state to state and are typically determined by different state laws.
Here are a few examples of what most workers’ compensation plans do not cover:
· Injuries received by a fight that an employee started
· Injuries an employee sustains due to being intoxicated in the workplace
· Injuries an employee gets intentionally
· Emotional injuries that are not accompanied by a physical workplace trauma
Who Pays for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Employers who do not pay for benefits typically purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover the benefits for employees. Most states require businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance with the exception of Texas and New Jersey. In those states, coverage is elective.
Employees are not responsible for paying for workers’ compensation benefits. The cost of this coverage varies greatly depending on many factors, including:
· State laws
· Business size
· Type of work employees do
· On-the-job risks
What Should an Employee Do if Hurt on the Job?
If an employee is injured on the job, they should report the injury to their supervisor immediately. When the injury is reported, the report should include the date, time, and circumstances of the injury. Each state has different requirements about when an injury should be reported, but it’s always best to report the injury as soon as it happens.
Job-related illnesses that worsen over time should be reported as soon as a diagnosis has been obtained by the employee or as soon as they learn the injury or illness is related to their job.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible is important. Report a workplace injury or illness if:
· The injured person is an employee of your business
· Your employee became sick due to their work
· The employee gets injured because of job-related duties
· If the employee gets hurt in the workplace.
Make sure your employee gets the proper medical treatment if they’re injured on the job. If you need to, call the ambulance or take them to the emergency room. If their recovery requires time off from work, approve their request.
Before filing a claim, you'll need to gather a lot of information. The actual information you’ll need can vary from state to state. Some general information an employer and employee may need to include when filing a claim includes:
· Company information (account number and location, policy number)
· Injured employee information (name, date of birth, address, phone number, Social Security number, age, gender, etc.)
· Details of the incident (date of incident, type of injury, exact body part injured, the cause of injury, estimated number of days the employee will lose, anticipated return date, any witnesses, etc.)
Once the necessary information is collected, you should file the claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. This process can differ depending on the state your business operates in. States may impose a window of time business owners have to report the matter to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. New York, for example, requires reports to be filed within 30 days.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Work?
How workers’ comp works is another common question. The Hartford's workers’ compensation insurance helps cover wages and medical benefits if an employee suffers a work-related injury or illness. Our goal is to get your employees healthy and back to work as soon as possible.
Our coverage gives employees access to caring, experienced professionals at every step of their recovery. Other benefits include:
· Preferred Medical Provider Network: Our nationwide network of more than 1 million providers can be accessed by employees.
· Nursed Back to Health: The Hartford provides nurse case managers to help coordinate care and treatment.
· Prescription Drug Features: More than 65,000 pharmacies throughout the U.S. to fill prescriptions. Prescriptions can be filled with no out-of-pocket expense to the employee. Mail order service can also be requested.
If an Employee Is Receiving Workman’s Comp Benefits, Are They Eligible for Disability, Unemployment, or Social Security Benefits?
Employees receiving workers’ compensation income benefits are not automatically ineligible for the benefits above. One thing to note is the number of benefits due under other programs may be affected by workers’ comp benefits. Your company’s benefits office should be contacted for specific information regarding eligibility for long-term disability and unemployment insurance benefits.
Do I Have to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
In most states, any employer with one or more employees is required to carry workers compensation insurance. Texas is exempt from this. Large employers may insure themselves, but they must apply with their state and meet strict self-insurance requirements.
It’s important to note that not all workers must be covered by this type of insurance. For example, workers’ comp doesn’t typically cover independent contractors, domestic workers in private homes, and volunteers. Some states also exclude seasonal workers when the work they do is not part of the employer’s regular business or profession. Other workers’ comp exemptions exclude certain agricultural businesses, construction businesses, charities, and more.
There are typically two options for buying workman’s comp insurance: private insurance companies and state-funded programs. North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming are the only states that require businesses to obtain only from state programs.
How Do I Get Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
You can buy workers’ compensation insurance online, from an agent, or over the phone. The state your business is in determines your workman’s comp policy requirements. Many factors could play a role in determining the coverage you need and how much you will pay for workers' comp. Here's some information to know before buying a policy:
· How many employees need coverage
· The number of employees at your business
· The type of work employees will be doing
· Your payroll size
Business owners can buy workers' comp insurance from private insurance companies or state-funded programs.
It's important to note that not all insurance carriers sell this coverage directly to business owners. Some providers only offer it through agents.