About Worker's Compensation Insurance

Should You Accept Worker's Compensation Insurance Benefits?

Businessman wearing wrist brace
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If you have ever had a job, you have probably heard of worker's compensation insurance. Maybe you have even received worker's compensation benefits from your employer.

There are pros and cons to accepting worker's compensation insurance and if you don't understand how it works then you cannot make the best choice for yourself. Understanding how worker's compensation works and what qualifies people for workers compensation can help you decide if you need to make a workers compensation claim.

What Qualifies a Person for Worker's Compensation

If you become sick, are injured at work, or as a result of your job, you may qualify for a workers compensation claim. Some people may worry that depending on who is at fault, they may or may not be covered, but who is at fault is not necessarily as important as whether your situation has occurred due to your work. If your injury or disability is due to a work related situation, then you may qualify. It is always best to ask than to assume you don't qualify.

Besides being an employee, here are other criteria in order to qualify:

  • You work for an employer that has workers compensation insurance.
  • Your injury or disability is work related
  • You have to check your state deadlines and regulations for filing a workers compensation claim and submit your claim within the timeline allowed.

Worker's Compensation Insurance Overview

Could you imagine getting hurt on your job and the only thing you could do was to sue your employer in order to prove that they were at fault for your workplace injury? That is how it used to be in the early 1900's. Back then if someone got injured at work, they usually just had to deal with lost wages, finding another job, or living with a permanent disability. This was because people had to prove that the injury was due to an unsafe work environment and to do that you had to go to court.

Most workers could not afford the costs associated with suing their employer. Labor unions pushed for workers compensation insurance to protect employers. By 1949 all employers in every state were required by law to provide some type of worker's compensation insurance for their employees.

Now worker's compensation insurance has become more than just money for lost wages. Depending on what state you live in, worker's compensation insurance can provide money for lost wages, reimbursement for medical bills, and even life insurance for your dependents if you die on the job.

How Worker's Compensation Insurance Works

If you are working and get injured while you are working you would typically report that injury to your supervisor. By law you have a right to medical care. If for some reason you cannot work because of your injury, you will be provided money by your employer that is paid from their worker's compensation insurance. How much money and how long you get that money depends on the state your workplace is located. Your employer's worker's compensation insurance will also provide payment for medical care.

Sounds great right? Well, there is a trade-off to accepting worker's compensation insurance from your employer.

What Every Employee Needs to Know About Accepting Worker's Comp Insurance

Most employees don't give it a second thought when they accept their employer's worker's compensation insurance payments. But, they should. When someone is injured at their workplace and accepts the worker's compensation insurance, they are giving up their right to sue their employer. Remember the history of worker's compensation insurance from above? People could not afford to sue their employers so a law was enacted that required every employer to provide worker's compensation insurance. That is why it was made, to not only provide lost wages and medical care for employees but to also protect employers from getting sued all the time.

So how do you know if you will be treated fairly when choosing to accept worker's compensation insurance?

How to Make Sure Your Worker's Compensation Injury is Treated Fairly

In most cases accepting your employer's worker's comp insurance is the best choice. Your employer does not want you to sue them and generally they will do their best to help you get healthy again and to prevent another incident. Every situation and injury is unique and the best way to know if you should accept your employer's worker's compensation insurance is to contact an injury lawyer. If you have legal insurance, you might even be able to get advice from an injury lawyer as part of a legal insurance policy.

Speaking to a lawyer is important if you have a life threatening injury or something that you think may turn into a permanent disability.

A great resource for more specific information on worker's compensation insurance is the Workers Compensation Insurance website. It will help you understand the specific state laws on worker's compensation insurance and even includes resources by state for injured workers along with forums and personal stories from injured workers.