One of the more complex issues employers have to deal with is workers compensation insurance. This government program protects employers from being taken to court over injuries that occur on the job. The following article takes a closer look at the workers compensation program from an employer's perspective.
Need to Carry
The majority of employers will need to carry workers compensation insurance, although there are some important exceptions. The requirements vary from state to state, but generally, employers who have more than one or two workers must participate in the program.
In some states, a business that employs agricultural workers is not required to purchase the insurance. In other states, domestic workers can be exempted from the program at the discretion of the employer. Another important exception involves independent contractors. Employers are not required to cover these workers.
Also, it's important to note that Texas is the only state that does not require any employer to participate in the program. Texas employers who opt out, however, can be sued by a worker who is injured on the job. If they decide not carry the insurance, the employers are required by law to inform their employees of this fact.
A common concern of many employers is determining what types of injuries are covered by workers compensation. The basic standard is that any injury or illness related to a employee's job is covered by the program. Employers need to remember that an injury does not have to occur in the workplace to be covered. For example, if an employee of a company is injured on a work-related business trip, that worker may claim workers compensation benefits in some instances.
In many states, however, coverage can be denied if the injury is a result of misbehavior by the worker. For example, an employer who injures himself while on drugs may be denied coverage. A workers comp lawyer can tell you more about these nuances.
Employers in the workers compensation program must abide by federal and state regulations regarding their obligation to their employees. For example, the employer is generally required to post information about the worker's right under the program at a location where it can be viewed by all employees.
Also, the employer must make workers compensation claim forms available to any employee who need them. The employer must give the worker basic information on how to file a claim, as well. These things should typically be done within 24 hours of the worker informing the employer that they have a job-related injury.