Not all states in the U.S. require employers to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance for the protection of their employees. In some states, employers with more than a certain number of employees must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, while in other states, payroll size is the determining factor.
In states where Workers’ Compensation insurance is required, there must be a notice detailing Workers’ Compensation coverage posted in the Human Resources Department of those companies. Once an injured worker fills out a claim form for work injuries and gives it to the employer, the employer is required to notify their insurance carrier immediately.
All of the states that require Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage have varying coverage types, terms and benefits. However, these benefits, terms and coverage types cover the same scenarios. These include medical treatment, disability benefits and vocational rehabilitation.
In Workers’ Comp states, employers are required to provide medical care at no charge to their injured workers. This treatment may be provided by a physician or facility that the employee has designated previously or an employer-designated medical provider. In most states, after the first month of treatment, the employee may switch treating physicians if he or she is not happy with a doctor.
The employer’s insurance carrier is required to pay an injured worker temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits during the time that the injured worker is unable to work. There is often a three or four day waiting period prior to the payment of temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits. It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee because a Workers’ Compensation claim has been filed.
After the employee has healed from his or her injuries, the level of permanent disability is rated by a designated government official. Depending upon this rating, the employee is then paid a permanent disability award.
In Workers’ Comp states, an employer is required to accommodate an injured worker by returning that employee to his or her regular job. If the employee is physically precluded by the doctor from doing the same kind of work, the employer must provide either a modified work environment that will accommodate the employee or notify the insurance carrier that the employee is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.
Some states give a cash payment to the worker for retraining expenses, while other states have set rehabilitation vendors who test and refer the injured worker out for vocational training.
Hayley is a freelance blogger. She recommends the law offices of Dwight W. Norton & Elmer G. Gibbons, III if you or someone you know is searching for an expert workers compensation lawyer in New Orleans.