Workers’ Compensation

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is workers’ compensation?

A system of statutes enacted by each state that provides medical, lost time and permanent disability benefits for employees hurt in the scope of their employment.

  • Who thought up the workers’ compensation system we have?

State legislatures enacted the WC system. Employees gave up their rights to sue and potentially win awards in court. Employers gave up their common law defenses in exchange for limits on their liabilities.

  • Is every worker covered by workers; compensation?

For all practical purposes all workers are covered.

  • Why can’t I sue my employer directly?

Employees give up their right to sue employers directly in exchange for assured benefits. Employees don’t have to prove negligence or freedom from contributory negligence in order to collect benefits.

  • Can a worker sue someone other than the employer if other party is at fault, even partially?

Injured employees can sue negligent third parties in common law civil suits if they are the cause of the accidental injury. An example would be an accident involving a trucker whose work truck is hit by an automobile. The trucker would have a WC claim against his employers’ WC carrier and a third party negligence suit against the automobile driver.

  • Are there any types of business not required to have workers’ compensation insurance or must all employers have insurance?

Again, for all practical purposes all business’ have to provide WC coverage.

  • What if a person is self-employed and is injured working? Who covers work injuries then?

Self employed individuals can purchase WC coverage on themselves.

  • Do employers have to provide coverage for independent contractors?

Independent contractors are not employees and are not covered by WC statutes. It is a very fact specific issue and the injured person who is claiming that he is an employee may need legal counsel to make his case.

  • Can employers self insure?

Employers can self insure if they meet state requirements by providing a bond which guarantees payment of benefits.

  • What happens if an employer doesn’t have any insurance and I am injured? How will my injuries be covered?

Your injuries may be covered by filing a claim against the employer directly naming the owner individually. Many states have penalties that can be awarded against uninsured employers.

  • I was injured at work, what should be my first step?

Notify the employer of the facts surrounding the accident. Seek appropriate medical care. Contact the WC carrier and advise them of the claim. Depending on the severity of the injury you may well need legal counsel to obtain the benefits that may be entitled too.

  • Are workers covered going to and from their place of employment?

Workers are covered if the travel arises out of their employment and is in the course of the employment. If the travel is purely personal it will not be covered.

  • Are all injuries at work covered?

Injuries which arise out of and are in the course of the employees’ work are covered by state WC act. The injury must be causally connected to the employment.
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