You've just been injured in a work accident. What now? You may be wondering, Do I have rights? Certainly! Is there anyone who can help me? Absolutely! While we hope your injury isn't serious, Accident.com is here to help you pursue a workers' compensation claim.
Before filing a claim though, your first priority is your health and safety. As soon as possible, get medical help. Even if you feel okay, have a doctor check for hidden problems. After you've taken care of your injuries, you and your lawyer can work to get you the support you need.
What Is Workers' Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation (comp) is a state-approved insurance policy that gives benefits to employees if they're injured at work. The most common benefits cover:
- Wage replacement, such as a percentage of your weekly wage.
- Medical costs.
- Vocational rehab.
- Travel costs for medical care.
- More benefits. An attorney familiar with workers’ compensation insurance can help you get the right benefits.
Who Is Entitled to What Benefits?
Most of the time, only employees can get workers' comp. That restriction means that many independent contractors and gig workers (like app-based delivery drivers) don't have protection. Even if you do have workers' compensation insurance though, your benefits are specific. Your state's insurance regulatory agency sets the policies.
Workers' comp doesn't have the same limits as other types of insurance. You may be familiar with your state’s unemployment program or your car insurance policy. Both types of insurance have clear maximum amounts that the policy will pay for.
Workers' compensation doesn't have that type of cap. Instead, this policy could pay your medical bills or wage loss for a work injury for many years.
Be aware that many insurance companies try to cancel benefits if a claim requires ongoing medical or wage loss payments. However, workers' comp can cover you even if the injury leads to a disability that stops you from returning to work full time. If your insurance tries to take away your coverage, an attorney can help.
In other situations, it may be best for you to settle your entire claim for future benefits as one lump sum. Again, a workers' comp attorney through Accident.com can help you choose what's best for you.
Start With Your Manager or HR Department
Different departments may issue an employer's workers' comp program. When you're ready to file, the best place to start is your supervisor or HR manager. That person should help you fill out a first report of injury form.
Most states require that employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. In almost all of these states, employers have three options:
- Get insurance through a state-run program.
- Buy insurance through a private company.
- Be self-insured. In other words, have enough assets to cover the workers’ comp claims directly.
A few states require that employers get workers’ compensation insurance from a state fund or through self-insurance. These states are called monopolistic workers’ comp states, where it's illegal for businesses to get their insurance from a private company. There are only a few monopolistic workers’ comp states, such as North Dakota, Ohio and Washington.
Other types of workers' compensation insurance are available through the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL). The DoL provides funds for many government employees, regardless of where they live in the U.S. The DoL also offers workers' comp for certain types of injuries or people, such as black lung caused by working in coal mines, people who work in the energy industry and longshore/harbor workers.
Some states provide workers’ comp benefits for state employees as both self-insured employers and as the administrator of the benefits as well.
Get an Attorney
State laws often require employers to post details about workers' compensation insurance in a common area for employees. Employers usually post this information near a first-aid kit or in a break room.
However, policies may still be confusing and unclear. Plus, workers' comp varies by state and there are time limits to filing any claim. So, it's important to reach out to Accident.com today and speak with an attorney in your area. We can help you get back on track after your work accident.