Do I Need Workers Compensation Insurance?

Do I Need Workers Compensation Insurance?

Employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to make the workplace safe. However, accidents happen even when every reasonable safety measure has been taken.

To protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents, in almost every state, businesses are required to buy workers compensation insurance.

Workers compensation provides payments to injured workers, without regard to who was at fault in the accident, for time lost from work and for medical and rehabilitation services. It also provides death benefits to surviving spouses and dependents.

Each state has different laws governing the amount and duration of lost income benefits, the provision of medical and rehabilitation services and how the system is administered. For example, in most states there are regulations that cover whether the worker or employer can choose the doctor who treats the injuries and how disputes about benefits are resolved.

What injuries are covered?

Injuries employees sustain on the workplace premises or anywhere else while the employee is acting in the “course and scope” of employment are covered if their employer has workers comp insurance. For example, the leading cause of workers comp death claims is traffic accidents that occur when the employee is in a vehicle for work purposes, whether the trip is made in the company’s car or the employee’s own vehicle. Accidents driving to and from work are not covered.

In addition to injuries from accidents, workers comp covers injuries employees may sustain from other events that may occur while they are working, including workplace violence, terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Workers comp insurance also covers certain illnesses and occupational diseases (defined in the state statutes) contracted as a result of employment. For example, employees who work with toxic chemicals can be made ill by exposure to the chemicals.

THE TEN OCCUPATIONS WITH THE LARGEST NUMBER OF INJURIES AND ILLNESSES, 2012

Rank

Occupation

Number

Percent of total

10

Registered nurses

20,930

2.3

9

Stock clerks and order fillers

20,940

2.3

8

Janitors and cleaners

21,970

2.4

7

Maintenance, general

23,470

2.6

6

Retail salespersons

24,520

2.7

5

Truckdrivers, light

24,620

2.7

4

Production workers

28,090

3.1

3

Nursing assistants

38,010

4.2

2

Truckdrivers, heavy

40,440

4.5

1

Laborers (nonconstruction)

60,640

6.7%

 

Total, top ten

303,630

33.5%

 

Total, all occupations

905,690

100.0%

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

With the cost of workers compensation claims, make sure that you are properly covered. To learn about the requirements where you live, please contact your local IMT Group Agent.

Article Source: Insurance Information Institute