Having workers’ compensation insurance in place is an important employer practice. In this article, we tell you how workers’ comp works and how it might be important for your business.

When employees come to work, they can expect to be in a safe environment. But sometimes despite an employer’s best efforts, unexpected injury or illness can happen. When something does happen, employers can rely on workers’ compensation insurance to protect their business and their employees. Workers’ compensation or workers’ comp is an important part of running a business and protecting workers and companies. But how does workers’ compensation work?

Read on to learn more about how workers’ comp works from Acrisure. We have expertise in workers’ compensation insurance and can help guide you through the ins and outs of this important policy.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance or workers’ comp helps provide financial and medical benefits to an employee who is sick or injured from a work-related accident or illness. This insurance pays for the covered medical bills and lost wages of the employee as they recover from the accident or illness. If an employee dies from a work-related accident, workers’ comp insurance helps provide payments to the employee’s beneficiaries.

Workers’ comp is a “no fault” type of insurance program. That means that it doesn’t’ matter who was at fault for an incident to determine coverage. Anyone involved, so long as the incident took place as part of the work environment, could receive full workers’ comp coverage. To receive coverage, an employee must show that the injury or illness came from their place of employment.

Workers’ comp is required by law in many states because of the protection it provides and the benefits for both employees and employers. Some states will even require companies to carry this insurance as soon as the first employee is hired. Even if workers’ compensation isn’t required by law in a state, it is always beneficial to provide coverage.

What Is Typically Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ comp helps provide coverage for injuries and illnesses sustained from something related to work. These are some of the things a workers’ comp program would typically cover:

  • Carpal tunnel
  • Back injuries from repetitive movement or lifting heavy objects
  • Injury to the lungs from breathing toxic substances
  • Slip and falls while at the workplace or doing something for work
  • Injuries sustained in a car accident while driving for business
  • Severe injuries from things like electrocution that happened while at work or on the job

These are some injuries that workers’ comp typically doesn’t cover:

  • Injuries sustained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (proven with blood/alcohol tests
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries sustained while the employee was violating a law or company policy
  • Injuries from accidents during the commute to or from work

Workers’ comp doesn’t just protect employees; it helps protect employers as well.

Who Benefits from Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance may be required by law, but it’s for good reason. Workers’ comp helps provide protection and benefits to both employees and the employer, so everyone has some protection.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Employees

A work-related injury or illness can be physically, emotionally, and financially disastrous for an employee. While employers can’t always provide for some of the damage, they can help provide financial compensation that will help ease the burdens of a work-related injury or illness with workers’ comp. These are some of the key benefits of workers’ comp for employees:

  • Covers paychecks missed due to the injury or illness. Covering these expenses eases much of the burden of missing work to recover.
  • Helps cover the medical bills from the injury or illness. Medical bills can be extensive and put extreme strain on an injured or sick employee and their family, so help with covering these expenses is a major benefit of workers’ comp.
  • Helps protects the employee’s job while they recover. Employees can recover without having to worry that they won’t be able to return to work when they’ve recovered.
  • Helps provide a beneficiary benefit. If an employee is killed on the job, their family will be provided with a beneficiary benefit that will help cover many costs.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Employers

Workers’ comp doesn’t just protect employees; it helps protect the employers as well. Essentially, if an employee is injured in a work-related incident, the employer could be legally responsible for providing compensation. This insurance policy is what makes providing that compensation affordable and possible. These are some of the key benefits of workers’ comp for employers:

  • Helps cover compensation for employees. Without the insurance policy covering the compensation, employers would typically need to cover some of it out-of-pocket. Medical bills and missed paychecks ad up quickly, and employers can struggle to provide these checks without the insurance policy.
  • Helps cover legal fees if necessary. If an employee sues the company for the injury or illness they sustained at the company, workers’ comp insurance can help cover the employer’s legal needs as part of employer’s liability insurance. This part of workers’ comp could cover legal fees, settlements, and judgements, so the employer doesn’t have to pay out-of-pocket.
  • Helps companies meet legal requirements. Workers’ comp is required by law in many states, so providing it helps a company meet legal requirements.
  • Helps protect businesses from lawsuits and going under. A company is less likely to be sued by an employee if the employee is provided workers’ comp. In addition, paying for lawsuits or for employee medical bills and paychecks can cause businesses, especially small businesses, to go under due to the financial distress. Protecting employees helps protect employers.

Who Pays for Workers’ Comp?

Since both employers and employees benefit from workers’ comp insurance, it can be confusing to know who pays for workers’ comp. Even though workers’ comp does provide major benefits for employees, they aren’t required to pay any of the insurance premiums to benefit. Instead, workers’ comp insurance is paid for by the employer. The employer pays workers’ comp insurance premiums both to adhere with legal requirements and in exchange for the protection this insurance program provides.

Workplace Safety

While workers’ comp insurance is beneficial, it should be viewed as a failsafe and only have to be used for rare accidents. Figuring out how to file for workers’ comp and all of the complexities can be time consuming to have to do over and over again. Instead, employers should focus on improving workplace safety to reduce the number of workers’ comp claims and to keep their employees safe. These are some ways to improve workplace safety:

  • Hold regular safety training. Safety training meetings and programs can be a good way to reinforce safety protocols, teach employees how to handle equipment safely, and provide guidance on protecting themselves from repeated motion strain injuries.
  • Improve signage. Clear labels and signs can help improve worker safety and prevent injuries.
  • Encourage stretch breaks. Having employees stretch and take breaks from repetitive tasks and motions can help prevent some workplace injuries.
  • Consult an occupational health expert. If a company is unsure of how to improve safety in a particular area or environment, occupational health experts can be a great resource. They can help guide companies to include the right policies and training practices. They can identify high risks for injury and help companies take the right prevention steps.
  • Keep the workplace clean. A clean workplace is one where accidents are simply less likely. Cleaning spills and leaks can help prevent slips and falls while avoiding tangled cords can help prevent trips and dangerous electrical accidents.

The Bottom Line

Overall, workers’ comp insurance helps provide coverage for workplace injuries and illnesses. Workers benefit as they can typically have their medical care and paychecks covered by this policy type. Employers also benefit as they will be more protected from legal ramifications, extensive out-of-pocket costs, and potential business losses. Employers pay for this insurance policy and can also endeavor to take care to improve workplace safety as a preventive measure.

Workers’ comp insurance is important and valuable. If you want to know how to get workers’ comp insurance, Acrisure can help. Request a workers’ compensation insurance quote online today to get started providing workers’ comp for your employees and to protect your business, or contact us to learn more.

Source: https://www.acrisure.com/blog/how-does-workers-comp-work

American Public Entity Programs, LLC are public sector insurance professionals specializing in the underwriting, risk management, and marketing for public entity risks. We are a strategic trading partner of Acrisure and have been designated as a double Acrisure Circle of Excellence wholesale broker. For more information, visit https://americanpublicentity.com/