Accidents and injuries are part of life. Unfortunately, some of these can be severe, even in the workplace. While you would rely on your own health insurance to help cover the costs of injuries outside of work, incidents on the job can use other benefits. Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation benefits. You should understand when this insurance is applicable, what it covers and how you can apply for it during a time of need.
Workers’ compensation protects both the employee and the employer when an accident hurts someone while on the job. To get coverage, the incident must have occurred while the person was engaged in legitimate work duties for the company. The insurance should take care of anything from minor cuts to significant issues such as internal damage or life-threatening conditions. Workers’ compensation takes effect if an employee is injured while on company grounds during normal working hours. However, employees may also make a claim for out-of-the-office injuries if the accident occurred while the person was on company business, such as making deliveries, going to a conference or meeting clients. The coverage should pay for treatment the person receives at any health care facility. It should cover medical bills such as prescriptions, surgeries and physical therapy.
In addition, workers’ compensation can help with income protection. If the employee’s injuries are so severe that he or she can’t return to work in the near future, or at all, the coverage can pay a portion of the person’s wages.
To apply for these benefits, the employee must inform his or her direct supervisor of the injuries as soon as possible after the accident. A human resources representative will help the employee file a claim. In doing this, the employee and employer should provide as many details as possible about the event that caused the injuries. Rules vary from state to state, but most employees will have around one year from the time of the accident to file a claim.
What Isn’t Eligible?
Not only work-related injuries can rely on workers’ compensation coverage. If the injuries were a result of horseplay or the person’s failure to follow safety regulations, he or she won’t be eligible for coverage. Also, out-of-work injuries from incidents such as car accidents while commuting to or from the office, or injuries during off-the-clock lunch times won’t be covered.
Be aware of how workers’ compensation works. You may need to apply for this coverage someday.