In the US, 140 million employees carry a type of insurance known as workers’ compensation. It’s mandatory in all states, except for Texas, where it’s optional.
For the rest, it’s the law, seeing as millions of injuries and illnesses occur in US workplaces each year. In 2017 and 2018, for instance, 2.8 million of these cases happened during each year.
What is workers’ compensation and what does workers’ compensation cover? What are the benefits that the coverage provides?
We’ll address all these questions in this post, so be sure to read on!
What is Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation (or workers’ comp) is insurance that provides medical and salary benefits.
Employers are the ones responsible for purchasing workers’ comp. However, workers’ compensation benefits both workers and employers.
Workers’ comp benefits include coverage for an injured worker’s medical and hospital bills. If an employee can’t go to work due to a work injury or illness, the coverage will replace some of the lost wages. Death benefits are also often paid out to the family or beneficiary of a worker who dies while on the job.
Workers waive their rights to sue their employers in exchange for these benefits. This protection from lawsuits is how workers’ comp also benefits employers.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ comp covers any injury or illness that occurs within the realm of employment. So long as it resulted from carrying out any task on behalf of one’s employer, then workers’ comp should cover it.
An example is overexertion and bodily reaction, which injured 30.3 per 10,000 workers in 2018. Falls, slips, trips, and contact equipment or objects are also common occupational injuries.
As for work-related medical conditions, the most common is repetitive strain injury (SRI). About 1.8 million US workers suffer from SRIs in any given year.
Traumatic brain injuries that result from falls are also covered by workers’ comp. The same goes for diseases such as black lung disease and asbestosis. Some cases of COVID-19 may also get covered by workers’ comp.
Does Workers’ Comp Only Cover Injuries That Happened in the Workplace?
No, as it still provides coverage for injuries that happened outside of the workplace if they are related to your job.
Let’s say that your boss required you to do a work-related task that requires you to get out of the office. If you get into an accident or you contracted a disease while doing this, then it’s still work-related.
Hence, your workers’ compensation should kick in and provide benefits.
Are There Any Limitations?
Yes, one of the most important of which is the specific doctor who will attend to you. If you get injured at work, it’s best to look up ‘doctors who accept workers compensation near me‘ online. These are doctors trained (and licensed) to handle occupational injuries and diseases.
There are also time restrictions for reporting the incident and filing a claim. Be sure to check with your local workers’ comp board to ensure you don’t miss these deadlines.
Workers’ Compensation Is Every Worker’s Right
What does workers’ compensation cover? It covers a variety of things, but it is important to understand the limitations. So long as your job function has to do with the injury or disease, then you should be able to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Remember, it’s your right, as a worker, to have access to these benefits.
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