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. Most employees don't even think much about the worker's compensation insurance that their employer provides, but that may a big mistake for some.

Generally, employees feel it is great to get benefits if they get hurt at work but accepting your employer's worker's compensation insurance may not always be the best choice for everyone. 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.

Worker's Compensation Insurance: A History

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.

Thankfully 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 Compensation 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 compensation 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. But 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. This is important if you have a life threatening injury or something that you think may turn into a permanent disability.

A great place 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.