If you are running a business, or thinking about starting one, then insurance should be at the top of your mind. It’s crucial that you protect your assets so that you aren’t left holding the bag if something bad happens. Your most valuable assets happen to be the employees you’ve hired to help you reach your business goals. A huge part of protecting your staff is having workers compensation in place.
What is Workers Compensation?
Workers compensation is protection for workers if they get injured or ill at work and must miss time because of it. It doesn’t just provide salary relief when they are unable to earn. It can also help with medical and rehabilitation costs related to the injury. The goal of workers compensation is to protect employees from being financially burdened because of an incident while working, and to protect businesses from having to pay those costs out of pocket. While this might seem simple, there are some misconceptions out there regarding the coverage. Here are some of the most common.
1. Workers Compensation is Optional
Every state believes that workers should be compensated for injuries or illnesses incurred at work. Because of this, all but two require employers to purchase the coverage for their staff. In some states, you are required to purchase it even if you are a sole proprietor. That way nobody can work without the safety net that workers compensation provides. Every state has different standards that must be met, but you don’t have to get the most expensive package. You can find cheap workers comp insurance online to make sure that both you and your employees are covered.
2. If the Business Isn’t at Fault The Employee Cannot Be Paid Out
People can be hurt doing anything. Thousands of people every year injure themselves getting out of bed. The same is true of work. A business could take every precaution imaginable, and people will still get hurt. In fact, some people can get debilitating repetitive stress injuries from simply sitting at their desks and typing.
The point of workers compensation is that workers should be compensated for any injury that happens at work. It doesn’t matter whose fault that injury is. If it happened at or because of work, then they are eligible. That isn’t to say businesses shouldn’t have strong safety policies. It’s the right thing to do, and despite having workers compensation coverage, you certainly don’t want your workers getting hurt.
3. Workers Comp is Only Paid Out For Injuries at the Workplace
The vast majority of workers’ compensation claims are a result of injuries that take place on work premises. However, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes employees get hurt while performing work duties but while also off-site. This can be the case in several situations. One common example is with vehicle accidents. If a worker is driving between work sites, or delivering something and gets into an accident, they would still be eligible for workers’ comp. A good rule of thumb is that if someone was on the clock when they were injured, then they qualify.
4. A Workers Compensation Claim Will Damage Your Business
Many business owners feel that a workers compensation claim will harm their business in some way. This is simply not the case. The entire concept of workers compensation is to provide funding to the injured workers without harming their employee. The fact is, the unexpected can happen, and businesses should be protected just as much as employees are. Without workers compensation, a business may be on the hook for lost wages and medical bills. In the end, both parties will be damaged if the business does not have the means to pay. Workers’ compensation makes sure that the funds are there.
5. Illnesses Do Not Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
Most workers’ compensation claims are for injuries, whether they be repetitive stress injuries or specific incidents. Over the decades, safety awareness and regulations have reduced the incident of work-related illnesses, but they can still happen. If they do, a worker is absolutely entitled to compensation. These cases can be very difficult to navigate, since the employee will have to prove that a debilitating illness developed as a result of their work. This might involve examining the medical history of the worker to ensure that they did not already have the condition.
6. Employees Can’t Appeal Workers’ Comp Decisions
There are times when workers are not successful with workers’ compensation claims. It could be that they failed to demonstrate that their injury or illness was as a result of their work. However, a rejection by the insurance provider does not mean that an employee has no further options. They can appeal to the workers’ compensation board to hopefully get a better ruling. However, most states have a very strict deadline. If the employee misses that deadline to appeal, then they will not get compensation.
7. You Can Fire an Employee For Making a Claim
Workers compensation compensates employees who have sacrificed their health and wellbeing for their employers. There is no negative affect to an employer, as long as they have their coverage in place. However, some employees are worried that they may be fired for seeking their benefits. It is, in fact, illegal for any business to fire an employee who makes a workers compensation claim. That said, if, after the benefit period has been exhausted, employees may be terminated before they return to work. This can often happen when employees recover, but the position at which they were working no longer exists.
Your employees are the most important part of your business. They run your day-to-day operations and are committed to your success. As such, you must protect them in every way possible. This means that your workplace is as safe as possible to prevent bodily harm. However, it also means making sure that they are taken care of if something bad happens. Workers’ Comp protection will provide them with funding to replace lost wages and to pay for medical bills while they are recovering. That way, you are protected, and the employee is protected. Don’t fall prey to misconceptions and get the right coverage immediately.