If you have been injured on the job or during the course and scope of your normal employment, your employer should have referred you to their workers’ compensation carrier to help you process a claim. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is not something that everyone understands, including both employees and employers. As such, there are many misconceptions out there about what exactly workers’ compensation, commonly shortened to workers’ comp is, what laws govern workers’ comp and who can help you if you think you may have a case. Here are some of the questions you may have, as well as the answers.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance program that helps to provide compensation for employees who are injured at work, or during the course and scope of their normal employment. This means that if you are a warehouse employee, and a piece of machinery malfunctions and injures you, you can file a claim. Or, if you travel for work and you get into a car accident while traveling to a work meeting, workers’ compensation will help you as well. In most places, an employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance to do business.
What Types of Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Provide for?
Workers’ compensation is designed to compensate employees for the injuries that they have sustained. If you miss work due to your injuries, workers’ compensation will pay you a portion of your salary. Workers’ comp will also cover your medical expenses, ensuring you do not need to pay out-of-pocket for any medical appointments, treatments, medications, or therapies. Workers’ compensation will also work to reimburse you for any permanent injuries or disfigurement you sustained. Lastly, depending on the state, workers’ compensation may pay to retrain you for a different job if your injuries prevent you from ever going back to the position you held when you were injured.
What Laws Govern Workers’ Compensation?
When it comes to workers’ compensation, the laws are not the same across the country. This is because there are different laws in place. Here is a bit more information about what laws govern workers’ comp.
For federal employees, The Federal Employment Compensation Act is the law that governs workers’ compensation for all federal employees, excluding those who are military. Many private maritime employees are covered by The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Employees who are not federal employees or not maritime employees are typically covered by state workers’ compensation laws. Each state has its own individual workers’ compensation laws, typically overseen by a separate workers’ compensation department, department of labor, or department of industry. It is important to note that outside of federal employees, states are free to set their own workers’ compensation laws, so you may see different rules pertaining to how much claimants get paid, what is covered under workers’ compensation, and how many cases need to be filed.
Who is Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation Laws?
Each state has slightly different laws pertaining to who is and who is not covered by worker’s compensation laws. As a general rule of thumb, self-employed individuals do not need to carry workers’ compensation policies on themselves. People who have family-owned businesses who do not employ anyone and only have family members working do not need to carry workers’ compensation employment insurance. Lastly, individuals who are independent contractors, such as 1099-C contractors, are not covered by workers’ compensation laws. 1099-C contractors typically include many gig workers, such as babysitters, dog walkers, Uber and Lyft drivers, GrubHub delivery drivers, and Instacart shoppers.
What Should You Do If You Have Questions or Concerns About Workers’ Compensation Laws or Cases?
If you were injured at work, you should immediately ask your employer about their workers’ compensation filing requirements and file a case immediately. If you have questions about your case, have a case that has been denied, or are wondering if you have a case, you will want to meet with an attorney who handles workers’ compensation cases in your state. Do not rely on the information you find on the Internet, as different states have different laws, and what you read online may not always be pertinent to your state. A workers’ compensation attorney works on a contingency basis, meaning they get paid from your settlement, so you do not have to worry about paying for an attorney out-of-pocket. An attorney can provide you with the best advice about your case and local laws, helping you to navigate the confusing workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation laws can vary based on the state you are working in and whether you are a federal employee or not. Workers’ compensation cases are not always straightforward, and they can be complex. This is why having an experienced lawyer on your side can be invaluable. If you were hurt at work in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area, Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm can help you with your workers’ compensation case. Call us today to learn more.