As you probably know, your employer is required to provide you with a safe work environment. While some jobs are inherently riskier than others, no employer is legally allowed to put their staff at unreasonable risk of harm. Workers’ compensation insurance exists because sometimes employees still get injured, despite the best efforts to provide a safe environment. When this happens, an emmployee may be entitled to have their pain and suffering covered. It’s not necessarily as clear cut as many people think. It’s important you understand the basics of workers’ compensation before it ever becomes a factor in your life.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
Like we mentioned above, workers’ compensation is a type of insurance. As with many forms, it’s required that most companies with staff carry it. However, it operates as a tradeoff as well. If you get hurt and your company has taken out workers’ compensation insurance for you, you can take the payout, but you generally can’t sue the business. The only exception would be in the case of intentional tort when you can prove that your employer actually had a hand in your injury.
Outside of that exception, this insurance is a great way of getting people the help they need if years at a certain job give them carpal tunnel, black lung, a bad back, etc. or they simply get injured while on the clock.
The Injury Must Be Work-Related
This should go without saying, but workers’ compensation will not cover any injury. It only covers injuries that happened while on the job and only when the employee was acting within the expectations of their employer.
For example, an employee can’t be operating a forklift without a license, get injured and expect to get paid. If they were hurt because they weren’t wearing their required hardhat, they are also out of luck.
However, in other ways, the definition of “work-related” is quite generous. If you drive a company truck and get hit while on the clock, that counts. Plenty of people do work for their company at other businesses or otherwise “out in the field.” Injuries that happen at these sites would also be considered work-related.
To put it simply, you don’t have to be on what is strictly considered “company property” to file a workers’ compensation claim successfully. You don’t even have to be on the clock. If you got hurt on your lunch break, but it was in the company’s cafeteria, you should have no problem receiving damages.
Not All Injuries Are Physical
Not all workers’ compensation claims cover physical injuries. Emotional distress is being recognized as just as much a reason people need assistance to recover. If you were sexually harassed or intimidated while on the job, you might need therapy to help get past these emotional scars. The courts would recognize that you shouldn’t have to be the one who pays for that.
When in doubt, always seek the assistance of a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. You don’t want to miss out on money that is rightfully yours simply because you didn’t know any better. This insurance exists solely to help people like you get back on their feet and move past the incident that harmed them.