Business is not just about numbers, it’s also about people, especially those that work for you. As a business owner, the safety and wellbeing of your employees is a top priority. The success and sustainability of the business is reliant on employees feeling protected while they work. Nonetheless, accidents happen.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries & Illnesses 2019, the total number of injuries per 100 full-time workers is 2.8 incidents.
What happens if an employee is hurt on the job? What financial compensation plans does your business have? Does your business have enough money and time to go through a lawsuit?
Workers’ Comp Insurance
A worker’s comp insurance plan is a policy taken by an employer to compensate workers should they get injured or killed while on the job.
If an employee is injured, they make a claim directly to the insurance company, which will then make the payment. The employer will not have to compensate the worker for the workplace injury.
Workers’ comp insurance is beneficial for both the employee and the employer. The employee can make a claim for compensation on a no-fault basis. Basically, who’s fault it was that the injury occurred will not matter as long as the employee was not intoxicated. The insurer pays all compensation benefits to the injured employee or their beneficiaries. In turn, the employer does not have to pay out of pocket.
This is why most businesses require workers’ comp, it provides compensation for the employee and protects the business from liabilities. It’s important to thoroughly understand a plan before purchasing and to make sure your employees understand their benefits as well.
When an Employee Makes a Claim
If an employee gets injured while performing their job, then they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The employee can file a workers’ comp claim on their employer’s policy to receive:
- Coverage for hospital bills and ambulance transportation,
- A portion of missed wages, or
- Temporary total disability payments.
After the insurance company has received the claim from the employee, the insurance company will make an offer of what they will pay. If the employee accepts the offer, then they could get the option to either have a lump-sum settlement or negotiate for a larger settlement.
The Settlement Process
If the employee gets injured on the job, they can immediately file a claim. The insurance company could ask for tests to determine if the employee was not intoxicated. Should the employee pass this test, then the insurance company will make an offer to the employee. The offer will most likely be a package from a predetermined scale. The offer must also follow state law and industry standards.
The employee is not required to accept the offer. They may hire a workers compensation attorney to make a counter offer that takes into account:
- State workers’ comp laws and relevant restrictions,
- Attorney fees,
- Disability payments,
- Hospital bills, ambulance rides, services of a Workplace Injury Treatment Doctor, etc.,
- Surgery, pain and suffering, future medical payments, and
- Lost wages and future wage loss.
If the insurance company disagrees with the counteroffer, then the employee, along with their attorney, can take the issue to settlement court, in front of a judge. The judge is most likely to rule in favor of the employee, meaning that the employee deserves compensation. Still, there is no guarantee that the settlement figure will match what the employee wants. The settlement may even be lower than what the insurance company offered.
As the employer, you are not involved in the trial itself, but there is a way you can be helpful. Here a few things you can do as the business owner to ensure a smooth workers comp settlement process. You can:
- Ensure that the employee has all the necessary paperwork and contact information for the insurance company.
- Keep all employees updated on the company’s work injury policies.
- Be a calming force in the negotiations and trial.
Having workers comp insurance is in everyone’s best interest, but it is also advantageous not to let things get that far. As the employer, you must:
- Avoid future accidents, by investing in a safe workplace
- Routinely training employees on both general and industry-specific safe work practices
- Ensure that employees understand the workers’ comp insurance policy and its processes.
Protect Your Business and Employees
A workers comp insurance plan is an opportunity to protect both your employees and business. Workplace injuries can be very demoralizing and disruptive, your business should plan for its eventuality to make it a smooth process.