Workers’ compensation coverage is important as regards the welfare of employees in a business organization, as well as the organization itself. In the U.S., almost every state is required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover the medical and rehabilitation services as well as the time lost for the employee, irrespective of who is responsible for the injury. The major benefit of this insurance is that it lifts the financial burden off the shoulders of the employer and the employee. Businesses that are non-compliant are likely to get penalized and bear the huge cost of claims, liabilities and penalties.
An employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if he gets injured on the job and reports the injury to his employer; the employer must file the completed form about the injury with the DIA (Department of Industry Accidents) and their insurance provider within the first week of the reported injury. In most cases the employer provides insurance benefits to cover the employee’s medical expenses and lost wages. In case the employer refuses to provide workers’ compensation, the employee can consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to fight for the due benefits. With proper documented reports, the lawyer can proceed with the lawsuit to secure the due benefits for the client.
The main objectives of workers’ compensation insurance are:
- A portion of the workers’ compensation is paid as a form of paid income while an employee is injured and is unable to return to work.
- To cover the medical expenses if the injured employee needs emergency care.
- The workers’ compensation insurance protects the employers by helping to avoid lawsuits pertaining to employees getting injured while on the job.
The insurance benefits also cover certain illnesses and diseases that may result from the nature of your work. In a worst case scenario, a worker’s family can receive the benefits if the worker dies while working.
According to a recent news report, a Democratic bill was signed into law (A-2756) (S-1252) on 13th June 2013 that will provide lifetime workers’ compensation benefits to surviving spouses of the members of the New Jersey state police or members of fire / police departments, or forces who die in the line of duty during the entire period of their survivorship, even if the spouse remarries. Senate Bill 5127 is another workers’ compensation reform bill passed recently by the Washington State Senate. According to this, injured workers age forty and above would have the additional option of taking voluntary settlement and returning to work. This bill would retain the protections offered to older injured workers who are already allowed to pursue such settlements – waiting periods, cooling off periods, administrative review and access to medical benefits. State governments are waking up to the fact that workers’ comp reform is something to be focused upon among many other important things to set the states on the right track.