Workers’ Comp Benefits Explained – FindLaw

Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of insurance purchased by employers for the coverage of employment-related injuries and illnesses. FindLaw’s Workers’ Compensation Basics has more resources in addition to this article’s answers to frequently asked questions about workman’s compensation. What is workers’ compensation or workman’s compensation? Workers’ compensation insurance, often called “workers comp,” is a state-mandated program consisting of payments required by law to be made to an employee who is injured or disabled in connection with work. The federal government does offer its own workers’ compensation insurance for federal employees, but every individual state has its own workers’ compensation insurance program. Be sure to check your own state’s workers’ compensation benefits laws by referring to the appropriate office in your state on the State Workers’ Compensation official page of the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. In most situations, injured employees receive workers’ compensation insurance, no matter who was at fault for the injury. Because these workers comp benefits act as a type of insurance, they preclude the employee from suing his or her employer for the injuries covered. What types of incidents are and are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance? Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover injuries that result from employees’ or employers’ carelessness. The range of injuries and situations covered is broad, but there are limits. States can impose drug and alcohol testing on the injured employee, and can deny the employee workers’ compensation benefits if such tests show the employee was under the influence at the time of the injury. Compensation may also be denied if the injuries were self-inflicted; where the employee was violating a law or company policy; and where the employee was not on the job at the time of the injury. What types of expenses does workers’ compensation insurance cover? Although the payments are usually modest, workers’ compensation insurance covers medical care from the injury or illness replacement income costs for retraining compensation for any permanent injuries benefits to survivors of workers who are killed on the job But remember that if a person collects workers’ compensation benefits, he or she cannot sue the employer. And workers’ compensation benefits do NOT cover pain and suffering. Wage replacement is usually two/thirds of the worker’s average wage, but there is a fixed maximum amount that the benefits will not go over. That may seem modest, but note that these benefits are not taxed. So, as long as the employee was making a fair wage, he or she should have no major problems. The eligibility for wage replacement begins immediately after a few days of work are missed because of a particular injury or illness. Does workers’ compensation insurance cover long-term and permanent injuries? Yes. Workers’ compensation insurance is not limited to just incidental accidents. It also covers problems and illnesses that are developed over a long period of time of doing the same injurious activity–for example, carpal tunnel syndrome or back problems from some sort of repetitious movement. See also What Types of Injuries are Compensable Under Workers’ Compensation? Who is covered by workers’ compensation insurance? Most types of employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. That said, states commonly exclude some workers from coverage, such as: independent contractors business owners volunteers employees of private homes farmers and farmhands maritime employees railroad employees casual workers Because employees of the federal government are covered under the federal workers’ compensation insurance program, they are not covered by state workers’ comp. Some states do not enforce the workers’ compensation program on employers with fewer than 3 to 5 employees working for them. This varies from state to state. Can I sue my employer for a work injury? Yes. You may sure your employer for any reckless or intentional action of your employer that caused your injury. If you choose to do this, you will waive your right to workers’ compensation insurance. If you are successful, the court may award a broad range of damages, such as punitive damages, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Can my employer fire me for or tell me not to file a workers’ compensation claim? No. Most states prohibit this by law. If an employer does retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim, the employer should be reported immediately to the local workers’ compensation office. Free Initial Case Review from an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Accidents occurring on the job should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If you’ve been injured on the job and your employer disputes your workers’ comp claim, you likely need legal help. Have an experienced attorney provide an initial review your claim for free with no obligations.


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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