Have you ever heard your bones pop?
While carrying a box of supplies into the office building, Jose’s foot slipped on the welcome mat. Losing his balance, he fell hard on his left leg and heard a loud popping sound. A trip to the hospital, and several X-rays later, doctors confirmed that the popping sound was his leg bone breaking.
Fractures, along with strains, cuts, contusions, and inflammation make up the five most common workplace injuries. Usually right after the incident employees find themselves asking, “If I get injured at work do I get paid?”
Luckily, there is help out there for employees who get hurt, even if the injury doesn’t take place at work. Read on to learn everything you need to know about making workers’ compensation work for you.
If I Get Injured at Work Do I Get Paid?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance program. The program’s purpose is to insure employees for any injuries, or illnesses, that arise as a result of the job.
Each state has its laws surrounding whether or not they require employers to carry workers compensation. It’s also up to the individual states to mandate the coverage limits employers need for their workers.
Employees can use the insurance coverage to receive medical treatment for either their injury or illness. The coverage only applies if the medical care is treating a work-related ailment. The injured employee will also be able to receive a portion of their regular wages while they’re unable to attend work.
The number of financial compensation employees receives varies case-by-case and state-by-state. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every workers’ compensation plan is a no-fault type of coverage.
Insurance programs, like workers’ compensation, that are no-fault, weigh in the favor of the employee. Rather than having to prove the employer’s negligence caused the injury, they only need to prove it was work-related. By accepting no-fault coverage, the employee also surrenders their right to sue the employer for their illness or injury.
Scope of Coverage
In addition to being an employee hurt at work, you also have to meet other criteria to receive workers’ compensation funds. Here’s a shortlist of the criteria you’ll need to meet:
- Your employer has an active workers’ compensation plan
- You are within the state deadlines for filing
- You submit your claim with all paperwork fully completed
- Your injury is work-related
Should you die on the job, there’s also a chance the workers’ compensation plan will pay out benefits to your family, or beneficiary.
Your work-related injury doesn’t necessarily have to be the result of one incident. If repetitious movements at your job cause you to sustain an injury over a long period, that could also qualify for a workers’ compensation claim.
The same idea holds for exposure to materials that, over time, cause you to develop a sickness. If you can prove you got sick as a result of exposure at work, you have great grounds to stand on for your claim.
A lot of employees fall into the trap of believing they have to be present at the job site for their claim to apply. While the injury or illness has to be work-related, that doesn’t mean the incident has to take place at a specific location, such as your main work site. Instead, workers’ compensation offers broad coverage.
Usually for a task to qualify as work-related, it has to be an activity the employer requested.
If you’re driving to or from work, and get in a crash, workers comp won’t cover that. However, if you’re boss asks you to run an errand, and you get hurt in the process, that could qualify for a workers’ compensation claim.
It’s also normal for certain states to allow employers to request a drug and alcohol screening after an accident takes place. If the employee fails the test, the employer will be blameless.
Any employee who tests positive for drugs or alcohol will be responsible for their injury, and won’t be able to file a workers’ comp claim. Finally, if an employee hurts themselves intentionally at work, it’s not likely they’ll receive any workers’ comp.
Filling Your Claim
There are rules for employers and employees when it comes to the claims process for workers comp. If your state requires employers to carry workers comp, and your employer fails to do so, you can pursue legal action. Employers who don’t follow their state’s laws surrounding workers’ comp can receive fines, and can also face more serious lawsuits.
If your employer does have the correct type of workers’ compensation coverage, you can file your claim right away. The moment you realize your injured, or sick, report your injuries to your employer. You should also speak to your supervisor, or human resources department, about any special forms you need to submit.
If you fail to report your injury within the deadline, you could lose your right to receive any type of benefits. Do you think you already missed your deadline to report your injury? If so, the next step is to see if your employer did their due diligence in informing you about workers comp at your company.
By law, your employer has to give you fact sheets or pamphlets, with workers comp information. They also have to put up posters in the break areas with workers’ compensation contact information. If you think your employer failed to give you this information, you should seek legal advice.
Get the Money You Deserve
Now you know the answer to the question,” If I get injured at work do I get paid?” When your injury’s work-related, and you follow all of the right steps in the claims process, you can receive workers’ compensation.
We hope our article will inspire you to fight for yourself, and get the money you deserve. It’s our goal to empower our readers, by helping them find answers to all of life’s big questions.
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