There were 2.8 workplace incidents resulting in illness or injury per 100 workers in 2018.
There’s a sizable chance that you’ll be involved in some kind of workplace injury and have to deal with workers’ compensation insurance.
There are a lot of legal and insurance loopholes that you may have to jump through before you can get paid for your claims. Read on to find out how workers’ compensation works and how you can protect yourself in the event of an injury.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of business insurance that’s required in most states. There are labor laws that tell businesses that they must have insurance in place to cover employees in case of injury or illness on the job.
In many respects, this is an agreement between employees and employers. Employers provide workers compensation insurance, and in exchange for that coverage, employees can’t sue employers for injuries sustained on the job.
Most workers’ compensation insurance programs are run by the Department of Labor in each state. They set the rules, regulations, and insurance rates. They approve private insurers to be able to sell these policies to businesses.
It’s up to your employer to make sure that they have the right insurance coverage. There are some industries, such as construction that have a high incidence rate of injury. This can make hiring an employee a very expensive proposition because workers’ compensation insurance can be expensive.
The Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Here’s how workers’ compensation works. You get injured while performing your duties. The injury may be your fault, or it may not be your fault. Workers’ compensation should cover your injury as long as you take the right actions immediately after a workplace injury.
You need to report your injuries right away to your supervisor or HR department.
There is a statute of limitations that defines how long you have after the injury to notify your employer. In some states, you have to report the incident as soon as possible. Other states give you 4 days, 5 days, 30 days, or as much as 90 days.
You want to make sure that you report the incident, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Some injuries aren’t evident right away, and if you wait to notify your employer the statute of limitations passes and you have no right to a workers’ compensation claim.
Your employer will give you forms for a workers’ compensation claim within 24 hours. You will complete the forms and give them back to your employer. The employer will usually file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance company.
Another statute of limitations in place is how long you have to file a workers’ compensation claim. Most states will give you 1-2 years after the incident to file a claim. You may have more time if you suffered an occupational illness.
Once the insurance company gets the paperwork, they will review the claim and offer a settlement based on the injuries sustained and the type of insurance coverage.
Your Claim May Get Denied
One of the unfortunate things about workers’ compensation is that claims often get denied by insurance companies. In other cases, you receive a settlement offer that’s way below what you should get.
There are some reasons why a claim is denied. You may not have filed the correct paperwork or reported your injuries on time. The insurance company may have made a few errors in calculating your income and your settlement amount.
In these cases, you want to hire a workers compensation lawyer to help you with your claim.
Finding a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A workers’ compensation lawyer is a must if you want to have a clear idea as to how you can get the money that you deserve. It’s important to find an attorney that specializes in workers’ compensation cases in your state.
They’ll review your case and tell you what you should expect. They’ll tell you if you’re entitled to more money, about how much, and how long the settlement process can take.
Be sure to ask the attorney if you’re able to get other types of financial support while you’re waiting for workers’ compensation insurance. It may be possible to get disability insurance, but you want to ask an attorney first to see if it has an impact on your case.
How Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Are Paid
You may not want to work with a workers’ compensation attorney because you’re afraid that you can’t afford one. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that a workers comp lawyer gets paid a percentage of your claim.
Most workers comp lawyers don’t charge anything upfront. This is called working on a contingency basis, where they only get paid if they win a claim on your behalf. That’s a common form of payment structure in personal injury cases.
The main difference between standard personal injury cases and workers’ compensation is that states have laws in place that determine how much an attorney can get paid. This is in the form of a percentage cap.
In most states, the cap is between 10%-20% of the money that you receive. In standard personal injury cases, attorneys will charge anywhere from 30%-50%, depending on the case.
You shouldn’t allow money to get in the way of hiring an attorney. It’s well worth it because they can often get more money for your claim.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
Did you learn how workers’ compensation works? Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that can protect you in the event of an injury at work. It can also protect a business from financial harm.
The problem often lies with insurance companies that are reluctant to pay out claims. That can create a long cycle of paperwork and negotiations before you get the money that you deserve. That’s why a workers’ comp attorney is valuable as you fight your claim.
Do you want to learn more about employment? Check out this article that details what it’s really like to work for the United States Postal Service.