Workers’ compensation can be explained as the set of rules that ensure that the expenses of the employees are paid who have suffered some injury while performing their duties. Under workers’ compensation law employees are paid for medical expenses, lost wages, disability payments, and any rehabilitation or retraining cost that might occur as a result of the injury. This system falls under state laws and expenses are financed through employer contribution.
Workers’ compensation law have replaced the personal injury law. The idea behind this is to secure both employers and the employees. Outside workers’ compensation structure, if an employee is injured performing his duties, then he or she must file a complaint and prove that their employer is responsible for the damages. This process is very lengthy and there is a fair chance that employee might lose the case.
From employer’s point of view, workers’ compensation limits the amount they have to pay as damages. In case of negligence on employer’s part as a result of which an employee suffers an injury or gets killed, the employer in this case will still be paying the ordinary contribution. However the rate may rise considerably in case of serious injury or death of the employee.
Workers’ compensation law has certain drawbacks for employers and employees both. Workers or employees are prohibited from suing their employer or a fellow worker in case of negligence. Also, the compensation that they receive is comparatively lesser than what they might get through a lawsuit. For employers it is simply an added expense, which they have to pay even if there are no accidents ever at the workplace.
Almost every state provides relaxation where a worker can bypass the law and sue the employer for negligence. This usually involves instances where a coworker or an employer has intentionally harmed the worker. Or cases where employer has suffered injuries due to defective products at the work space, etc.
After filing a complaint against the employer for damages, the employer may try to dispute the claim as they might have to pay far more than the rates they actually pay. Disputed claim is usually investigated by the workers’ compensation board, which will also give its decision.
During the above process, the employee who has suffered an injury will be examined by a physician on state’s behalf. It is expected that the physician involved will act impartially but here employees should understand that anything said during the examination maybe used by their employer in proving that the injury suffered was not work related or that it is not as severe as the employee is claiming it to be.
In cases where board declares that claim is not covered, there is an appeal procedure for the employee. Officials within the compensation department will first hear the matter and if needed will present the case to the review panel. It is only after the decision of the review panel that the employee may take the case to state court.
The rate that the employer pays for workers’ compensation (as a premium) is only 2% of the cost of doing business. Having said that, these cases may become controversial if the employer is of the opinion that workers are seeking benefit they are not entitled to. These cases can easily become a matter of pride for the employer, and employee in such cases may simply find himself overmatched.
The best option for employees in the case above is to retain legal counsel. An attorney who is specialized in this area knows how to deal with employers who keep their interest ahead of their employees. Other than that, such an attorney will also be capable of putting your case in a way so that you may receive maximum in terms of benefits.