Employers are legally obligated to take reasonable care to make sure that the workplace is perfectly safe. However, mishaps might even happen even after taking relevant precautions. Workers’ compensation insurance is needed to provide coverage in such situations. As per Charles Spinelli, workers’ compensation insurance serves two major purposes. First of all, they provide assurance that injured workers get medical care and compensation for a portion of the income they lose while they are unable to return to work. Secondly, it also protects employers from lawsuits by workers injured while working.
Charles Spinelli gives a brief overview of workers’ compensation insurance
In the United States, workers’ compensation is handled primarily by the individual states. The needed benefits vary significantly from one state to the other. Court decisions and state laws control the program in every state, and no two states have exactly the same laws and regulations. States determine various features, such as the amount of benefits an employee is entitled to, how impairments are to be evaluated, what impairments and injuries are covered, as well as how medical care is to be delivered. Moreover, states also dictate whether workers’ compensation insurance is provided by the state alone, or by state-run agencies and private insurance companies. They also establish the manner in which claims are to be handled and how disputes are to be resolved, and can even devise strategies to control expenses, such as setting limits on chiropractic care.
The majority of the workers’ compensation programs are paid for by private insurance companies, from premiums paid by individual employers. Every state has a Workers’ Compensation Board, which basically is a state agency tasked with the responsibility to oversee the program and intervene in any associated disputes. There are also federal workers’ compensation programs available that cover federal employees, energy employees, as well as long-shore and harbor workers.
Injuries sustained by the employees on the premises of the workplace or anywhere else while they are acting in the “course and scope” of employment are essentially covered if the employer has proper workers compensation insurance in place. Traffic accidents that occur when the employee is in a vehicle for work purposes, for instance, is among the leading causes of workers comp death claims. These claims can be made no matter whether the trip is made in the company’s car or the employee’s own vehicle. However, accidents driving to and from work are not covered. Apart from injuries from accidents, workers compensation insurance covers injuries sustained by employees due to other events that can occur while they are working, including natural disasters and workplace violence.
As Charles Spinelli mentions, workers’ compensation insurance also provides coverage for specific illnesses and occupational diseases contracted as a result of employment. For insurance, employees working with toxic chemicals might get sick due to the exposure to the chemicals.
Broadly speaking, workers compensation insurance is meant to protect both workers and employers. The employees give up further recourse in exchange for guaranteed compensation. On the other hand, the employers consent to a degree of liability while steering clear of the potentially greater cost of a negligence lawsuit.