What Every Employee Should Know About Workers' Compensation

If you've ever worked for an employer, chances are high that you've heard about workers' compensation. This is a form of insurance that is designed to provide you with compensation if you are hurt while working on the job and to provide your employer with protection from paying your medical costs directly. Here is what every employee needs to know about workers' compensation.

What Times Are Employees Covered?

Whenever you are performing work for your employer, you will likely be covered by workers' compensation if you are injured. One thing to remember is that you must be performing a work-related responsibility at the time of the injury. 

In general, think of covered situations as those over which you had little control due to your employment. If you slipped and fell on a patch of ice while getting into your car at home to drive to work, that would not be covered because it is not during work hours and not under your employer's control. However, if you were sent to run an errand at work and slipped and fell while walking to your car in the parking lot, that could be covered since you were performing a work responsibility during work hours. 

What Kind Of Employees Are Covered?

While rules are different in each state, only employees of a company are covered under workers' compensation laws. Contractors working for the employer will not be covered since they have workers' compensation insurance through the company that they work for. This means that if you bring in a consultant to work at your office, the employer doesn't need to let the workers' compensation insurance provider know about an additional employee that should be covered. The same rules work for employees hired from a temporary employment agency.

Are All Injuries Covered?

Workers' compensation is designed to cover workplace-related injuries, but an injury that happens at work is not automatically covered. The injury itself must be an accident rather than an injury that has been self-inflicted or caused intentionally by another person. The latter would be better addressed as a personal injury lawsuit due to the other person's direct actions. It is also important that any person who was injured was doing their job as intended and not intentionally violating any safety regulations that may have prevented the injury. 

As long as you are performing your job as requested by your employer, you should be able to receive workers' compensation in the event of an injury.