Workplace injuries are common, and the victims are eligible to get workers’ compensation benefits while they recover from their injuries. The claim process should be straightforward for companies with workers’ compensation insurance, and specific procedures must be followed when filing a proper claim. Therefore, employees must understand the basics of employee compensation laws before beginning the claim process. Read on to learn different things about workers’ compensation to help you understand your rights.
Workplace Accidents: Employer’s Responsibility
In most states, employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover the employees in case of injuries. The employer must ensure that the workplace is safe and secure for the employees. In the case of accidents leading to injuries in the workplace, the employee is entitled to receive a settlement under the workers’ compensation insurance provisions. When the worker is injured, a claim is filed with the insurance company by the employer. The insurance company then pays medical expenses together with disability benefits.
Employers without workers’ compensation insurance are subject to penalties, civil liabilities, and criminal prosecution. The employer must perform some or all of the following duties:
- Post compliance notice with the workers’ compensation laws
- Offer immediate treatment to workers injured on the job
- Compile an injury report
- Complete and forward an injury report to the nearest workers’ compensation board
- Furnish the employees with information about their rights
- Provide reports about employees status to return to work
The employer has a duty to provide a safe working environment for all the workers.
Hire an Experienced Injury Lawyer
Employees have legal rights that should protect them in their workplaces. However, some people are ignorant of their rights regarding compensation issues. Seasoned injury lawyers at FoyleLegal.com explain that the advantage of consulting an injury lawyer is that they are experienced in handling similar cases. Expert lawyers also provide legal advice to their clients about different issues they should know relating to their workplace rights. Lawyers will also help the employees file compensation claims if they feel that they have been unfairly treated.
Injuries Covered by Workplace Accidents
Work-related injuries occur in the workplace while on duty. However, some injuries take place offsite but are related to the job. Even injuries that happen at social events like parties sponsored by the employer are also work-related. For these reasons, each employer must have workers’ compensation insurance that helps the victims to recover lost wages and other benefits for the injuries sustained. All the injuries connected to employment requirements deserve compensation. The workers’ compensation insurance covers the following:
- Medical expenses for illnesses and injuries
- Lost income
- Permanent injuries
- Costs of retraining
- Benefits for wrongful death to survivors
Once you decide to collect the workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot sue the employer. In the case of wage replacement, the employee is eligible to get two-thirds of their average wage.
Depending on various states, other types of employees are not covered by the workers’ compensation insurance. These include the following:
- independent contractors
- business owners
- casual workers
- employees in private homes
- railroad and maritime workers
However, some states do not enforce workers’ compensation programs on employers with individual policies.
File a Lawsuit
Employees should not sue their employers if they provide workers’ compensation insurance. However, if you choose to sue your employer, you waive your rights to workers’ compensation insurance. Only take this route if you have a very strong case against your employer. There are also exceptional cases when the employee can sue the employer. You can sue the employer if you believe they have intentionally caused you harm. These lawsuits include tort injuries that do not necessarily cause physical harm like:
- False imprisonment
- Emotional distress
- Privacy invasion
You can also sue for injuries caused by third parties or wrongful termination of your benefits. It is best to employ a professional attorney to increase your chances of winning your case. Workers are protected by law against employers who may want to retaliate when they are sued.
If an employee is injured at work or in the process of doing their work, they are entitled to get workers’ compensation benefits to cover their injuries. Employers must ensure that their workplaces are safe for the workers and to get workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees in case of injuries. Employees have a right to sue their employers, but they have to forego the workers’ compensation claim. When the worker files a lawsuit, the employer is not entitled to retaliate or discriminate against the employee’s course of action.