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What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?

What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a workplace accident as “an unplanned event that results in personal injury or property damage.” When it comes to workers’ compensation, you should know that it will cover the costs related to your work injuries.

Workers’ compensation insurance covers your medical expenses, missed wages during recovery, ongoing care costs, and death benefits for fatal injuries.

Medical Expenses

When you are involved in an accident at your workplace, workers’ compensation insurance covers the costs of immediate medical care, such as an ambulance ride or an emergency room visit. Moreover, the insurance will cover the hospital stays, surgical procedures, medical treatment, or other medical-related bills. If you need ongoing care, continuing medical treatment and physical rehabilitation will also be covered by workers’ compensation.

Lost Wages

If you have suffered serious injuries that stop you from returning to work for days, weeks, or even months, then workers’ compensation insurance covers the missed wages during recovery. It pays for the wages lost while you are recovering from your injuries or occupational illness.

Compensation for Fatal Injuries (Funeral Costs)

If a work-related accident is fatal, workers’ compensation pays death benefits that cover funeral and burial expenses and provide financial support for the deceased’s family. For death benefits to apply in most states, the employees must have died from a work-related injury or illness; workers’ compensation may not cover a workplace death that occurred outside of work activity.

Repetitive Injuries

Your work-related injuries may not be the result of a single traumatic accident but the result of repetitive injuries. For example, you can develop carpal tunnel syndrome after years of typing. In such cases, workers’ compensation covers the treatment costs, rehabilitation, and ongoing care bills.

Disability

Unfortunately, some accidents can result in temporary or permanent disability. At this stage, workers’ compensation insurance will help employees cover their treatment costs and supplement some missed wages through disability benefits.

Lawsuits Related to Work Injuries

In addition to workers’ compensation insurance, the employer should also have liability insurance, meaning that the employer is protected from a lawsuit that asserts the worker was injured because of the employer’s negligence. If the employee sues, the employer’s liability insurance can cover the attorneys’ fees, court costs, or settlement costs.

On the other hand, workers’ compensation insurance does not cover:

  • Injuries caused by drugs or intoxication
  • Injuries claimed after layoff or termination
  • Injuries from company policy violations
  • OSHA fines
  • Wages for a replacement worker
  • Independent contractor injuries

What Are My Rights if I’m Injured at My Workplace?

Workers’ compensation laws offer injured employees a lot of benefits, including the right to:

  • File a workers’ compensation claim without being fired, demoted, or laid off due to your claim
  • Appeal if your claim is denied
  • Receive the medical treatment and other workers’ compensation benefits for which you are qualified (Workers’ comp covers injuries or illnesses that qualify as “work-related,” which is determined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Each policy will specify what it does and does not cover.)
  • Get legal advice from a workers’ compensation attorney that will help you throughout the process and advocate on your behalf.

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by Marissa Collins //

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.