Worker's compensation is a program that provides financial assistance (including payment of lost wages and medical expenses) for individuals who are hurt while they are completing job-related duties. Keep reading to learn a few things you need to know about the worker's compensation program before you contact a worker's compensation attorney.
1. Worker's Compensation Is A State-Run Program
Each state has its own worker's compensation program; though the programs are fairly similar in how the function, the rules and restrictions do vary slightly with each program. Don't make the mistake of assuming information about worker's compensation that might only actually only apply to a single state's program.
You can learn more about your state's program by contacting the worker's compensation office in your area, including laws that specify which employers are required to have worker's compensation insurance. Some states have laws that exempt certain businesses based on their size or the nature of their work.
There is a federal worker's compensation program, but it's generally only for federal workers.
2. You Don't Have To Be At Your Job's Primary Location To Be Protected
A common misconception of worker's compensation is that you must be at work to qualify for benefits. This is not the case. You are eligible for worker's compensation benefits whenever you are conducting job-related duties. This includes injuries that occur while you are:
- Traveling for work
- Completing errands for your employer
- Attending a social function or seminar required by your employer
It's important to note that worker's compensation does not cover self-inflicted injuries or injuries that occur when an employee is committing a crime or grossly violating company policy (even if these events technically occur while the employee is on the job).
3. Worker's Compensation Will Cover Expenses Other Than Your Salary And Medical Balls
Most individuals know that worker's compensation will pay for the medical expenses and missed wages that are caused by your injury. However, worker's compensation insurance will cover other expenses as well.
If your recovery does not permit you to return to your job, but you are well enough to do other types of work, worker's compensation has a component known as supplemental job displacement benefits. These benefits will pay for you to be re-trained or seek new skills so that you are eligible for other types of work that your body can handle. if you can't work at all, permanent disability benefits are another component of the worker's compensation program.
In the event that your injury leads to your death, worker's compensation will pay a death benefit to your family.