We have all seen those commercials for law firms that help injured people obtain their workers’ compensation benefits when obstacles arise. However, if you have never filed a claim for an on-the-job injury, the ins and outs of workers’ compensation may be unclear.
In a nutshell, the federal government and each state government have workers’ compensation laws that protect people who are hurt or disabled while working at their jobs. To avoid lawsuits between injured employees and companies, these laws ensure injured workers will receive money to pay for their medical bills and other related expenses. For people who are killed by accidents or illnesses connected to their job, workers’ compensation laws provide benefits for their dependents.
The compensation that injured employees (or the families of deceased employees) receive comes from insurance coverage their employer pays in case someone gets hurt. An employee who collects workers’ compensation benefits cannot sue his or her employer.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Serious injuries and deaths that are covered under workers’ compensation include those that are connected to a person’s employment requirement or conditions. In other words, injuries and accident/illness-related deaths do not need to happen AT the place of employment in order for a person to collect workers’ compensation. Harm that happens outside of the workplace, such as in a company car or during a remote work-related activity, is typically covered — as long as the employee was doing a task connected to the job.
What Workers’ Compensation Does NOT Cover
Workers’ compensation insurance covers a wide range of employee injuries and accident- or injury-related death, but there are a few limits.
If there is a suspicion that an injured employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred, states can impose testing on that employee and may deny compensation if the results are positive.
Compensation may also be denied if:
- The injury was self-inflicted rather than a result of a careless mistake
- The employee was violating a law or company policy
- The employee was not on the job when the injury occurred
What to Do if You or a Coworker Gets Hurt
As soon as someone gets hurt in a job-related activity, it’s critical to properly report the incident. First, tell your employer right away, and put the report in writing with a reliable witness present. If there is any discrepancy later, you’ll be able to refer to this document to protect yourself and support your claim. Next, if you are a union member, report the accident to your union representative. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a standard “Report of Injury Form,” which is free for download.
About John Bair
John Bair has guided thousands of plaintiffs through the settlement process as co-founder of Milestone Consulting, LLC, a broad-based settlement planning and management firm. Milestone’s approach is comprehensive and future-focused. John’s team has guided thousands of clients by taking the time to understand the complexities of each case. They assess the best outcome and find the path that enables each client to manage their many needs. Read more about Milestone Consulting at http://milestoneseventh.com/.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).