Workers Compensation 2023: what is it and how can I apply?
Workers Compensation works on a ‘no fault’ basis is an important safety net for employees when they are injured on the job or as a result of their job.
Workers compensation, or workers comp, pays an employee’s medical bills and a percentage of wages, among other things, due to an injury or illness that occurs on the job or as a result of their job. Its “no fault” feature is a give and take between employee and employer, the employer agrees to pay, and the employee generally can’t sue for damages.
Rules vary from state to state for the number of employees a business has that will trigger coverage requirements, as well as how the coverage works. Filing a workers compensation claim is much like filing an insurance claim. Here’s a look at workers compensation in 2023.
Where are employers required to have workers compensation?
Purchasing and paying for workers compensation is the responsibility of the employer. Every state but Texas requires employers to purchase workers compensation insurance, depending on each state’s rules. Four states don’t allow employers to purchase workers compensation policies on the private market, but instead from the state. These include North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming.
Generally, when an employee is injured on the job or as a result of their job, no matter whose fault it was, they can file a claim to receive workers compensation. By doing this the employee, or family of the employee, gives up their right to sue the employer for negligence. At the same time, by law the employer cannot punish or fire the worker because of the request for workers compensation benefits or the injury itself.
Do employees have to claim workers compensation?
An employee may decide not to claim workers compensation benefits, which allows them to sue their employer for the work-related injury or illness. For that reason employers must maintain additional insurance called employer’s liability coverage. This will pay for the legal bills to mount a defense against the employee’s lawsuit.
Usually, this coverage is built into the workers compensation policy, except in states that don’t allow employers to purchase private workers compensation insurance. In those states, the business will need to buy the policies separately.
How to claim workers compensation benefits
In order to file a claim for workers compensation benefits, the employee, or their representative, must inform the employer, preferably in writing. States have different legislation and statutes of limitation for how long after the injury or illness happens, or from the time it is discovered, for filing the claim.
Likewise, employers must accept any notice of a claim for workers compensation benefits and follow state rules to report the employee’s notice of the injury or illness. Generally, the employer will provide the employee with a list of physicians that are qualified, willing, and able to treat the injury or condition in a timely manner.