A Guide To Workers Compensation Insurance

When workers offer their services to their employer, there is the possibility that they could sustain injuries while at the workplace. In some cases, these injuries are severe and medical bills or even funeral expenses have to be covered. Statutes have been developed to create a framework through which medical and rehabilitation costs of the injured employee can be covered. As a result, the complexities of a lawsuit are eliminated since the employee gives up their right to sue the company for negligence. Moreover, employees can recover from their injuries in peace.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program mandated by the state. The insurance program is designed to compensate employees if they suffer work-related illnesses or injuries. The insurance covers medical and rehabilitation expenses and in some cases could cover the lost wages of the injured employee.

Employees who sustain job-related injuries or illnesses can get the benefits related to workers’ compensation regardless of who was at fault. This could have been the employee, a coworker, the employer, a customer or some other third party. Having this kind of insurance cover usually, means that employees give up their right to sue their employer in a court of law for negligence.

How to get workers compensation?

For a worker to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, they must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • The employer who had enlisted the labor of the worker must be a holder of workers’ compensation insurance or must have been required by law to carry such insurance.
  • The worker must be a recognized employee of the person or company
  • The injury or illness suffered by the worker must have been work-related.

How much does workers compensation cost?

Since the states regulate workers’ compensation programs, the costs of the insurance cover differ significantly from one state to another. Moreover, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance varies depending on the location of the business as well as the industry in which it operates. The rates will also be influenced by the nature of duties and responsibilities assigned to the worker. Lastly, if one has been in business for a reasonable period, whether their workers’ compensation rates will go up or down will depend on their accident history.

Who pays workers compensation?

Workers’ compensation is paid for in full by the employer. No payroll deductions are made on the paychecks of individual employees.

Although the structure of workers’ compensation insurance differs from state to state, employers pay for the insurance program in one of three ways. The employer will submit premiums to a state-run insurance scheme which makes payments to a private insurance company or pay the benefits directly to their workers. Regardless of the plan adopted by an employer, the benefits to be paid to workers will remain the same.

What does workers compensation cover?

Workers’ compensation cover covers expenses in four major categories:

  • Medical treatment – the medical care benefits will cover costs related to surgeries, hospital stays, visits to the doctor, treatment, medications and medical equipment. For the treatment to be paid for, it has to be reasonable and necessary as well as be related to the injury sustained in the course of duty.
  • Wage replacement – if the work-related injury keeps the affected employee away from work, the employee will be entitled to wage replacement benefits. This will depend on whether they fall into one of the specified types of disabilities. In most cases, employees will be paid around two-thirds of their initial wages. Moreover, such employees will not be required to pay income tax on their earnings.
  • Vocational rehabilitation – these benefits are designed to cover costs associated with therapeutic care. Such physical therapy is usually aimed at ensuring that the affected employee makes a full recovery and that they can be trained to get back to work or assume different positions.
  • Death benefits – in case the injury or illness is fatal, the family or beneficiaries of the deceased will receive some benefits. The benefits include funeral and burial expenses as well as financial support. The financial support to be received will be calculated as a percentage of the deceased employee’s earnings.

How long can you be on workers compensation?

The length of time that a worker can be on workers’ compensation differs from one state to another. For temporary benefits for an injury, most states limit the length of time that workers can receive the benefits. The limits are usually in the neighborhood of three to seven years. When it comes to permanent disability benefits, there is usually no time limit. However, some states will terminate the weekly benefits once the employee reaches the age of 65.

What are the most common non-fatal injuries?

In most cases, employers will be required to record cases of injuries away from those of illnesses. In this regard, the most common non-fatal injuries at the workplace include sprains, strains, fractures and cuts.

Frequently asked questions

Are all disabilities covered under workers’ compensation law?

Not all disabilities are covered under the law. The only disabilities that can be compensated are those that are related to accidental injury and are sustained in the course of employment. Also, disability related to work-related disease will also be compensated.

What are the responsibilities of the employer before an injury occurs?

Before any work-related injury occurs, an employer is expected to secure workers’ compensation insurance for the employees. Alternatively, the employer should qualify to be self-insured. Moreover, whenever the employer recruits new employees, they should provide all the new employees with a pamphlet that explains their rights and responsibilities. Lastly, the workers’ compensation poster should be placed in locations where all the employees can access and see it.

Can I choose my doctor?

Yes. You are at liberty to choose a physician of your choice. However, if you are severely hurt or unconscious and your employer chooses a doctor for you, you are still free to choose a physician after you have been released. Once you choose your preferred physician, you cannot change the physician until you get approval from your employer’s insurer or the office of worker’s compensation.

Traditionally, when workers sustained injuries in the workplace, they never had resources to sue their employers in a court of law. In cases where the employees sued the employer, they ended up losing the case. This is because it was assumed that they understood the risks related to the job when they took it up. Today, many things have changed. Workers’ compensation has made it possible for employees to enjoy numerous benefits I the event that they suffer injuries or illnesses at the workplace or in the course of duty.

What is Covered by Florida Workers Compensation Insurance?

What is Covered?

Most injuries, disease exposures or accidents that are a direct result of a job are covered by Florida Workers Compensation. Outright injuries, injuries resulting from repetitive actions or a disease that has occurred due to exposure at your place of employment, as well as a disease that has developed due to your employees job are all covered by Florida Workers Compensation.

If an employee has developed a disease as a direct result of exposure to a chemical while on the job, they are legally covered by workers compensation. Respiratory problems, and psychological disorders that have occurred due to your work place, are also covered under workers compensation.

What Injuries To Look For

Not all injuries that occur on the job are sudden accidents. Repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome can also be considered an accident. Back injuries, neck and head injuries, brain injuries and joint injuries can all be eligible injuries for workers compensation depending on the job being performed when the injuries occurred. Permanent injuries resulting from your employees job such as hearing loss are also entitled to workers compensation.

If you have employees, it’s only a matter of time before they find they’ are suffering from an injury that was acquired while on the job, make sure you’re covered before they need a Florida Workers Compensation attorney.

For over 25 years we have been working with employers to ensure they have the proper affordable workers compensation coverage. We offer free quotes and consultations on the most challenging cases and will negotiate with providers to ensure you get the affordable coverage you deserve.

The Benefits of Healthy Employees on Your Workers Comp Insurance

Employers are always looking for new ways to help recruit the best talent and to maintain the exceptional talent they already have working for them.  Implementing a health and wellness program as an employer can certainly help keep prospective and current employees happy.  But a health an wellness program can also benefit the employer too.  While there is a cost associated with implementing a wellness program for the employer, many companies have found the initial cost will more than pay for itself through a better workforce and lowered costs elsewhere.  Below are some outlined ways in which an implemented health program can benefit the employer.

Increased Productivity

Having a health and wellness program for employees will keep employees energized which will show in their work.  Employee productivity has been proven to increase with a health and wellness program and the employees yield a better overall result on the final product.

Decreased Healthcare Cost

By having a health program in place, it can help to create a better overall wellness among employees.  This will lower the costs that are associated with employee absenteeism.  There are also several tax benefits that are available for companies that offer a program to employees.

Increased Teamwork & Community

Employers that offer a health program have found that the sense of community and teamwork increases.  When a company’s employees work better together and feel a sense of commitment and dedication to one another, productivity increases.

Furthermore, having a health program available to employees can help lower the costs associated with workman compensation claims.  Researches at the American College of Occupational and Environmental medicine have recently conducted a study and discovered that employees that have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and found themselves in the range of obese to overweight had a much higher average of workman compensation costs when compared to employees with a lower BMI.  The study concluded that obese employees were almost two times more likely to generate workman compensation costs that ended up costing the employer upwards of $100,000.

While having health and wellness programs available to employees is certainly a nice way to attract new talent and retain the existing talent at a company, there are many benefits the employer is able to enjoy as well.  Implementing wellness programs in the workplace can help boost team morale, lower costs from healthcare and reduced workman compensation claims, and can increase productivity with an energized and eager staff.

Connecticut Workers Comp Insurance Rate Drops for 3rd Straight Year

Connecticut continues to prove that it is possible to be both a pro-business and pro-worker state simultaneously, a fact that has new companies relocating to its cities. Workers compensation regulators have found a nice balance between protecting the program that provides for employees harmed in the line of duty and keeping rates low enough to remain attractive to the business community.

A high workers compensation insurance rate can cause new businesses to look elsewhere and for existing entities to hire fewer employees. Fortunately, things are different in Connecticut, where the reduction of workplace injuries and resultant claims, largely through improved safety training and regulations, has made the cost of compensation insurance less.

Because of this significant improvement in workplace safety, the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which helps dictate the rates in Connecticut and over 40 other states, recommended a reduction of the mandatory employer rate by almost 11 percent across the board. This number is quite impressive and should attract more entrepreneurs to the region.

The state regulatory commission, led by Katherine Wade, quickly approved the lower rate and has already put it into effect. This means that Connecticut has dropped its average unemployment insurance rate for an amazing three straight consecutive years. In 2015, the regulatory body dropped rates 3.9 percent and 6.3 percent, for loss costs and assigned risks, respectively. In 2014, they reduced the same categories by 2.9 percent and 2.8 percent.

Most economists agree that the lowering of the workers compensation insurance rate is a positive indicator. The American workplace has become increasingly safe. Workers are getting injured less than ever before. Plus, companies are both realizing increased profits as a consequence of the rate reduction and enjoying increased productivity as workers are missing fewer days from injuries.

This is an optimal time to purchase new insurance or update an existing policy.

Workers’ Compensation Laws in Florida Have Changed: Here is How Employers Can Protect Themselves

The rules of workers’ compensation in Florida have changed drastically and, as such, employers are at risk of paying thousands more for claims. Even unsettled allegations that are more than a decade old can become a financial burden thanks to recent rulings handed down by the Florida Supreme Court.

Workers’ Compensation in Florida

Workers’ compensation has cost employers millions over the years. Florida was among those states with the highest rates until the Workers’ Compensation Reform Act came on the scene in 2003. The purpose of the law was to prevent employees from taking advantage of recompense given as a result of on-the-job injuries, which is why the process of filing a claim improved under the reform act.

While many viewed the 2003 workers’ compensation law as a saving grace, two Florida Supreme Court judges have managed to dismantle key parts of reform and, once again, open the door to fraud and financial burden shifting to the employer.

The courts struck down the workers’ compensation fee law in Marvin Castellanos v. Next Door Company as it found the regulation violated due process by limiting attorney fees. A judge later relaxed Florida’s limitation of temporary total disability benefits in the case of Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg. Such decision made unsettled claims as far back as January 1, 1994, retroactively eligible for benefits at a maximum of 260 weeks.

What Can Employers Do?

Protection is essential in this new era of workers’ compensation that heavily rewards employees while doing little to protect corporations against fraud. Employers should, therefore, invest more time and energy in the hiring process to make certain that candidates are dedicated to the job and not searching for ways to take advantage of the company. Proactive injury investigation procedures are also critical. Strategic return-to-work programs that help eligible employees transition from workers’ compensation benefits back to the jobs they love may also reduce costs associated with the recent court proceedings.

Communication through the workers’ compensation claims process is essential as it demonstrates an employers eagerness to ensure the health of the employee as well as the integrity of the company.

Is Workers Compensation Insurance Required?

Workers compensation insurance requirements vary state to state for employers. It is essential to know what requirements your state has set for insurance so that you are protected as a business. Some states vary from never requiring workers compensation insurance, some always require it, and some states make it required based on the number of employees the business has. Some states may require the business to carry worker’s compensation insurance, but those states may have exemptions.  For example, one of the most common exemptions is for employees that work with agricultural and corporations or members that are exempted with limited liability.

Most businesses in the United States have to deal with the problem of worker’s compensation. Although some states do not require employers to carry worker’s compensation, most states do have a certain requirement that employers have to purchase an insurance policy that will handle the obligations they have to the workers that may become sick or hurt due to a workplace exposure. Even if your business is large or small things process and expense of meeting the obligations is always a challenge. The concern from business owners about the cost of worker’s compensation has become a much bigger problem. Whether the company employees 30 to a Fortune 100 corporation, the stress and concerns remain the same; how can these costs be controlled effectively? Some states do not have to carry worker’s compensation, but they do have to offer insurance for the employees. For example, in Florida if you are an industry, other than construction and have more than four employees then you have to carry worker’s compensation coverage.  In Georgia it differs by any employer, individual, firm, or association that has more than three persons must provide worker’s compensation coverage.  In conclusion, worker’s compensation can be a difficult process due to the costs and obligations, but in the end it is different between each state.

Contact us to get the answers you need, one of our experts can explain your states requirements and provide a quote if necessary!

Workers Comp Protection A Must

Protection TODAY, The ONLY WAY…

Cause doesn’t matter, liability does.  Don’t pay the price tomorrow, protect today.  Invest now for a better and safer tomorrow.

Workers Compensation Insurance is compulsory in the United States and its territories. Laws vary from state to state, so check state specific workers’ compensation insurance regulations at NFIB.  Insurance does at times require quintessential knowledge.

Workers’ compensation insurance is required, working to ensure injuries are taken care of properly, while protecting your business from disaster.  

  1. Required rules/regulations differ from state to state. Workers’ compensation insurance varies from state to state. Monopolistic funds draw employers’ insurance from mandatory state funds and qualified self-insurers. Competitive funds are state-owned, state specific, and compete with commercial insurers.
  2. With workers’ compensation injuries are taken care of properly.  Accidents occur, no matter what the safety program is
  3. Financial burdens are minimized with the right coverage.  Take charge, and contact us to find out more about how our best practices can benefit you TODAY!

Are your workers’ compensation policies exposed or unexposed?

Education, education, education – know before you owe!

If your workers’ compensation insurance is not what you think it should be, Review it NOW!

Successfully keep costs down. Know before you buy, and compare/review documents.

Confirm your data is factual.  Costs of insurance are affected by employee codes.  Identify incorrect coding, and verify transposed numbers.

Strong safety practices work.  Modify your safety program frequently.  Stagnation breeds failure.  Variety breeds quality.

Consider recognition vs. rewards…Let’s face it – peer recognition is competitive.  Motivation between peers creates healthy competition.

Team work and accountability are essential for insurance.  Service from a workers’ compensation insurance company requires 24/7 monitoring. Insurance is built on integrity and customer service.  Insurance companies must stand on its delivery.

THE FRAUD OF UNDER REPORTING PAYROLL is a crime.  Companies must report accurate information.  Insurance premiums, taxes, social security, and Medicare are dependent on payroll reports.  This quintessential data affects many networks.

Underreporting payroll creates lower premiums, BUT misclassification of job/employee codes results in fraud. Listing employees as independent contractors, or failing to report pay, is negligent.  Deceptive policies include discrepancies in pay disclosed at various state agencies.  Tax forms (1099 vs. W-2) must meet the workers’ compensation established precedent.

Crime is CRIME and fraud is FRAUD. Consider the cost.  Examine your company’s policies.  Under-reporting is intentional extortion no matter how it is scooped.

Workplace Emergencies – Advanced Planning Makes Sense

A workplace emergency can take many forms: An unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers or the public A disruption that shuts down your operations A situation that causes physical or environmental damage whether natural or manmade including:

  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Fires
  • Toxic gas releases
  • Chemical spills
  •  Radiological accidents
  •  Explosions
  •  Civil disturbances
  •  Workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma

The best defense against an emergency is a good offense; in other words make a plan before something happens. During an emergency situation even the most level-headed people may not respond well. Brainstorm worst-case scenarios. Discuss what needs to be done in a worst case scenario to sustain your trade or industry. Then map out your response and the roles of critical employees. Even small business owners benefit from an emergency action plan in place. Make sure it describes designated actions employers and employees must take to ensure employee safety. Tailor the plan to your work site.

  1.  How and by whom will emergencies be reported?
  2.  What policies and procedures should be implemented?
  3.  Establish escape procedures – including workplace maps and safe or refuge areas
  4.  Maintain a list of names and phone numbers of all employees within and outside the company to be contacted regarding additional information or duties.
  5.  Review operation of fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment.
  6.  Review rescue and medical duties for any workers designated to perform them (does anyone on your team know CPR?)
  7.  Designate a location where all employees should assemble after an emergency and/or evacuation.
  8.  Keep a copy of insurance documents, agents and other pertinent information available off-site.
  9.  Record contact information for authorities in the event of fire, break-in or other emergencies.

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