Workers compensation is an essential part of any business, no matter how big or small. As an employee, you can depend on workers compensation to cover any expenses associated with an injury you get while at work. This takes away a huge stress and financial burden should an accident happen, especially if you work in an industry that poses many hazards, such as construction. But what exactly are your workers compensation rights, and how do they play out in emergency events? Here’s what you should ask your employer about your benefits.
1. Does Your Employer Have Workers Comp?
Before anything else, you need to make sure your employer has workers compensation insurance at all. In some states, businesses are legally required to carry coverage not matter what. However, others don’t mandate this, or they may only require it under specific circumstances, like if a company has more than 10 employees. Ask your employer if they have coverage and check to make sure their insurance follows legal guidelines. For example, if you live in Iowa, you should look into Iowa workers compensation law to make sure your company’s policy is up to date.
2. What Benefits Are Covered?
Workers compensation can vary from business to business, with some states requiring more than others. When you’re first hired, ask for a detailed list of what your employer’s insurance covers. By knowing what the policy includes ahead of time, you’ll be prepared for any accidents in the future. Oftentimes, workers compensation policies include coverage for medical costs, financial losses (such as wages you miss during recovery), funeral expenses, and temporary or permanent disability pay.
3. What Does Workers Comp Not Cover?
Your employer’s insurance likely only goes so far. Most workers compensation policies don’t include costs like pain and suffering, as these are challenging to translate into economic terms. An employer also isn’t required to file a claim for injuries that resulted from an employee’s own negligent actions, such as coming to work drunk or starting a fight.
4. Can You Sue Your Employer for an Injury?
This probably isn’t a question you want to ask your boss directly, but it’s important to understand, especially if your injury is the result of your employer’s negligence. In short, you normally can’t sue an employer that has workers compensation insurance. This protects the employer and guarantees their employees coverage so that everyone can walk away without losses. However, if your employer refuses to acknowledge your injury, you may need to take legal action.