The 4 Biggest Misconceptions About Workers’ Compensation
Dan Levenson March 14, 2017
Workers’ compensation is something that everyone vaguely knows exists, but until they need it, they might not understand the program as a whole. In fact, there are several common misconceptions about workers’ compensation that persist across many different industries.
Whether you’re an employee who is struggling to figure out how workers’ compensation will help you following an injury at work or an employer wondering how to make workers’ compensation work for your business, untangling these misconceptions will help you sleep better at night.
1. Workers’ compensation only applies if the injury was due to negligence on the part of the employer.
Many employees assume that if they were hurt on the job, but it was their own fault or a freak accident, they can’t receive workers’ compensation—and employers may feel that as long as they take the necessary steps to ensure that the workplace is safe, they aren’t at risk.
In reality, however, workers’ compensation applies to anyone who is injured on the job, regardless of how safe the work environment may be.
2. Once the claim is filed, the employer doesn’t have anything else to do with the process.
In many cases, a workers’ compensation claim will mean that an employee is off work for a long period of time. During that time, it’s up to the employer to stay in contact with the employee and work with them through a program that is designed to help them return to work.
Ideally, employers should have a program in place to make returning to work after an injury easy on both the employee who was injured and those who will be working with them. This might include:
- A gradual return to work and a slow reduction of workers’ compensation pay as the worker returns to full salary
- Information about how to make necessary modifications to help employees return to work while remaining within their doctors’ orders
- Consultation with an independent medical examiner to ensure that the employee’s injury has been reported correctly.
3. The injured employee has no say in the independent medical examination process.
An employee has several rights in the independent medical examination process. They have the right to request a physician that is the same gender they are, to request that their personal physical be present for the exam, and to expect it to be at a reasonable location within the state.
The employer, however, also has a number of rights:
- To have the injury report sent to them, rather than to the employee who has been injured
- To have as many independent medical evaluations as are necessary during the period of the injury
- To insist that the employee attend every independent medical evaluation appointment unless they want to see a cessation of benefits
4. Workers’ compensation claims don’t need to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Workers’ compensation claims typically need to be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. The longer an employee is out of work, the greater the likelihood that they, for whatever reason, won’t be able to return. Not only that, if delaying benefits results in delayed treatment, the employee can have grounds for further legal action against the company.
Navigating workers’ compensation claims is difficult for both employees and employers. If you want to be sure that you have a solid workers’ compensation policy in place that will protect your employees and your business if there’s an accident at work, contact us. We’ll work with you to ensure that you have the coverage you and your employees need.