Many people have heard about workers’ compensation insurance but do not have a solid grasp of exactly what it is or how it is helpful. Although the concept of workers’ compensation seems simple, it is actually rather complex. Below are some common questions and answers that provide an overview of this type of insurance coverage.
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance, at its most basic level, is a state-mandated program that provides income for someone who received a work-related injury while on the job.
Must the employer be at fault?
An employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for the accident or illness. However, workers’ compensation is not designed to be a failsafe for employees whose injuries are a result of acting carelessly. Workers’ compensation does not necessarily extend coverage to employees who self-injured, violated laws or company policies, or were not on the job during the time of injury.
Can an employee sue an employer for making a workers’ comp claim?
Individual states dictate their own guidelines and laws regarding workers’ compensation claims. However, as a general rule-of-thumb, accepting a workers’ comp settlement negates any rights an employee has for suing his or her employer for damages.
Can an employee get fired for filing a workers’ comp claim?
No. Most states have laws in place specifically to protect against this action. If an employer does try to retaliate against a workers’ comp claim in any way, the employee should report the incident to the local workers’ compensation office.
What injuries are covered by workers’ comp claims?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, workers’ comp covers any injury that occur within the normal “course and scope” of the job. The most common cause of a workers’ comp claim is due to injuries sustained in a car accident while performing work-related duties on the road.
What benefits can an injured worker receive with workers’ compensation?
Every workers’ compensation case is different. Income replacement is based on whether the injury is permanent or temporary. Most states require that the employer pay out benefits for the duration of the injury or illness. The benefit amount is usually a percentage of the employee’s income.
Is a business owner required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance?
- Most states do not require sole proprietorships to have workers’ compensation insurance until they begin to have employees.
- A small business with only a few employees does not need to obtain this insurance
- Family businesses that only employee family members often do not need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
- Companies that hire mostly independent contractors do not always need workers’ comp insurance.
It should be noted that every state has different laws, and all business owners should check with their state to confirm the laws that have been set. Even if workers’ comp insurance is not required by law, it is an expense that all business owners should budget for. It is the best source of protection in the event of an accident. Even a seemingly small incident can cost a business tens of thousands of dollars (or more) that would come out of the pocket of the business if the owner has not invested in workers’ compensation insurance.
How can a company obtain workers’ compensation insurance?
Workers’ comp is not included in Business Owners’ Policies (BOP) coverage. It must be purchased as a separate policy from an insurance company.
How are premiums set?
Premiums are set according to the industry’s classification code and payroll. Companies that are in high-risk industries and with larger payrolls will pay higher premiums. Also, premiums will go up the more often claims are made against it. There are some ways a business owner can lower their workers’ compensation premiums:
- Manage the company’s risks
- Take advantage of any savings opportunities
- Raise the deductible
- Avoid assigned risks
- Coordinate disability programs (if available in your state)
- Double-check to see if the premium was figured correctly
What are the company’s obligations with workers’ compensation coverage?
Most states require companies to keep accurate and up-to-date records on their workers’ comp claims. Every incident must also be reported to the local office of workers’ compensation and the insurance company as soon as possible. Most states have a specified number of days in which the reporting must be accomplished.
Even if your business is not required to hold a workers’ compensation policy, it is simply good business to do so. Having a policy, such as the one you can get from Marine Agency, can truly be the difference between remaining in business or having to file for bankruptcy due to a work-related injury or illness to an employee. Keep your business safe and protected by purchasing workers’ compensation insurance.
Are you interested in obtaining workers’ compensation for your business? Contact our friendly and experienced professional today by visiting Marine Agency today!