Frequently Asked Questions about Workers’ Compensation
Q: What is workers’ compensation?
A: Workers’ compensation laws allow workers who are injured in the course of their employment to be compensated for their injuries without having to resort to a traditional lawsuit, or court proceedings. An injured worker does not have to prove that his or her employer was negligent, or at fault for the injury, only that the injury happened in the course of the worker’s employment. Unless someone other than your employer was liable for your injuries, workers’ compensation is the only remedy for your injuries.
Q: What kinds of injuries are covered?
A: Almost any kind of physical injury or disease is covered by workers’ compensation. An injury or condition you already had will not qualify, unless it was aggravated or made worse on the job.
Q: What do I receive for my injuries?
A: The workers’ compensation law provides for specific amounts that are awarded for different injuries. In addition, the law authorizes payment of the medical bills that relate to your injury, as well as payments to make up, at least in part, for the wages you lose because of your injury.
Q: Who pays workers’ compensation benefits?
A: Your employer is required either to carry workers’ compensation insurance, or to be self-insured. Your employer’s insurer is the one responsible for making payments to you.
Q: What do I do if have been injured on the job?
A: Your first step should be to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible after your injury. You should be told who receives your report: your supervisor, your foreperson, or your employer’s human resource office. Usually, a verbal report is all you need to make, and the report does not have to be followed up in writing (but you should check with your employer to be sure).If you are in need of medical care or treatment, you should inform your employer of this need as soon as you decide you need to see a doctor.
Q: Who chooses the doctor that I see?
A: Usually, your employer, or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, selects the doctor you will see. If you are unhappy with the doctor or other health care professionals selected, you may have the right to request treatment from someone else.
Q: Are workers’ compensation benefits taxed?
A: Most states do not tax workers’ compensation benefits. The U.S. government does not tax workers’ compensation benefits.
Q: My employer and I disagree about my workers’ compensation benefits. What can I do?
A: The workers’ compensation laws provide an opportunity for a hearing if you and your employer, or your employer’s insurer, can’t resolve a dispute. While it is not required, it is a good idea to be represented by an attorney at this hearing.
Q: I was injured on the job, but the injury was caused by someone with no connection to my employer. What are my rights?
A: You still have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, you may be able to bring a separate lawsuit against the party who caused your injuries. It is important to consult with an attorney with experience in this area of the law, to learn exactly what your rights are in this situation.