What is workers compensation and why should you care? Workers compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who become injured or ill as a direct result of their job. You do not have to be a miner, trucker or logger to be affected by affected by the complicated things, especially as the workforce ages and that trend will become more acute in the coming decades. Below are five facts that everyone should know about workers compensation.
1. Report Every Injury or Illness
Always report any injury to your illness to your doctor and to the HR department. It is not enough to report it to the guy or woman next to you. When an incident happens immediately get an incident report to fill out. If you do not receive a call from an insurance adjuster or get paper work something is wrong. You should immediately follow up with your boss.
2. Corporations Are Actively Trying to Ditch Workers Compensation
There is an aggressive campaign in corporate America to allow states to opt-out of state laws. According to an investigative journalism investigation conducted by ProPublica and NPR in 2015, 120 companies in Texas and Oklahoma have already opted out of those laws. Beyond those states big corporations are already opting out of their obligations. Sear is able to deny benefits if workers don’t report injuries by the end of their shifts. Taco Bell is able accompany injured workers to doctors’ appointments.
3. Ask Your Employer to Explain Its Workers Compensation Coverage
Your employer likely has a brochure that explains their workers’ compensation programs, and make sure to read it. Then, find your states workers’ compensation office and check out the information on the website.
4. You Do Not Necessarily Need an Attorney to Get What You’re Owed
Since states set workers’ compensation payouts, there’s not much leeway for you to get more or less than you deserve. The value system is built into the law and the doctor determines how permanent the injury is. Under the current system an attorney is entitled to take 20 percent of your settlement, so keep that mind before you book one. That said, if you think that you are being shortchanged over a permanent disability, have a complex claim, or were unfairly denied coverage of your medical bills, then hiring one is reasonable.
5. Make Sure Your Medical Records Include Everything About Your Injury
Your records should mention the history and circumstances of your injury or illness and make sure to list every body part involved. If the body parts are not listed in detail, then workers’ compensation will not pay for it.
This only scratches the surface about a complex system which will be covered in subsequent posts.