If you've been injured on the job or as a result of doing your job, you may be eligible for worker's compensation. Before you file a claim or attempt to get benefits, there are several facts you should know in order to be prepared if an incident arises. Here are some important things to know about the ins and outs of worker's compensation.
What is it?
The term worker's compensation refers to an insurance program that the majority of employers must have as mandated by their state law. Each state may have different guidelines and rules when it comes to this form of insurance, but most employers must provide it. It essentially means that employees will have the right to certain benefits even if they are at fault if an injury or an illness results from or at their place of work. In return, the employee cannot sue their employer (in most cases).
Is Everyone Covered?
Not everyone is covered by worker's compensation insurance. It can often depend on how many employees your job has on staff, and how many of them are full time workers. It may not cover people who work part time or people who only work seasonally. It can also depend on the type of work you are doing. People who work in someone's home or who work on a farm are usually not eligible.
What Does it Cover?
In most cases, worker's compensation will cover the cost of any tests, medical bills, and rehabilitation you might incur. It may also cover some of your lost pay or salary while you're out of work. It is important to note that while you're receiving worker's compensation, you probably won't get the full amount of your regular pay. It typically pays about two-thirds of what you would normally make. If you've become ill or injured as a result of working somewhere long-term (such as carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motion or lung issues due to breathing in certain materials), this may also be covered but it would need to be proven by a physician.
What Doctors Can I See?
Depending on your individual employer or the state you live and work in, you may be able to see your regular physician to be assessed and treated for your work related injuries. Some states, however, require employees to go to a pre-approved doctor in order to be treated. The reason only pre-approved doctors are used is because they must give a completely objective assessment of your issues without bias. Some doctors actually specialize in work related injuries and illness, so they may know what to look for and help determine the best avenues of treatment.