As recently as a couple of decades back, employers were grappling with the idea of managing rising medical costs, and workers’ compensation insurance offers the perfect solution. However, despite its growing acceptance and wide usage, there are many myths about workers’ compensation.
Let’s debunk 10 of the most common myths:
1. The Employer Doesn’t Need to Follow Up
In case of an employee being injured or falling sick on the job, the employer is liable to provide workers’ compensation benefits. However, the role of the employer is not limited to simply awarding the compensation. The employer should check regularly with the affected employee and monitor his/her status at all times.
2. The Employer Will Handle the Paperwork
In case of an accident, the employer is not responsible for filing the claim for compensation. You have to report to the insurance company that the injury was indeed caused by a workplace accident and you are entitled to benefits under worker’s compensation insurance.
3. The Employee Has to Sue the Employer
Once again, this myth is based on pure fiction. Employees only need to file a claim for benefits, which will be honored. Unless the employer refuses to ratify the claim or denies benefits, there is no reason to even consider a lawsuit.
4. Employees Will Be Compensated for Pain and Suffering
Worker’s Compensation guidelines clearly outline that employees will only be compensated for tangible and financial losses as a result of the accident. This means the injured employee will not receive any compensation for trauma, pain or suffering.
5. The Injured Employee Cannot Be Responsible for the Accident
Again, this myth contravenes what the law suggests. The employee him/herself could be at fault for the accident and still be entitled to compensation. The only exceptions to this are willful negligent behavior on part of the employee or a deliberate attempt by the employer to injure the employee.
6. Worker’s Compensation Is the Same as Any Discretionary Employee Benefit
This is not the case, expressly because worker’s compensation is awarded akin to tort damages, and is not a discretionary benefit that the employee is entitled to or receives from the employer.
7. Painkillers Can Reduce the Number of Worker’s Compensation Claims
The wide availability of painkillers and narcotics means that some doctors have indeed been prescribing them as a means to treat the pain caused by an accident. However, there has been a crackdown on such doctors and this trend is unlikely to continue.
8. Chances of Claims Reduce with Age
This is a widely purported myth among claim adjusters. They believe that because an employee has not worked for a while or hasn’t filed a claim, his/her file can be pushed back. However, this is not the case. People who are out of work are unlikely to return to work in any case, and with the growing medical inflation, the claims become more complex, as and when they are filed. It is important to deal with complex claims quickly rather than pushing them back.
9. Cost of Worker’s Compensation is on the Rise
While there are some anomalies, i.e. companies that have faced significant worker’s compensation claims, the average number of claims per company is fairly nominal.
10. The Exclusivity Defense is Still Valid
A majority of cases of unintentional injury where an exclusivity defense is involved are settled in the employer’s favor. The exclusivity defense holds valid, despite many experts projecting its demise.
Over the years, the importance of workers’ compensation insurance has increased significantly. Some states have even made it mandatory for businesses to provide coverage for employees in case they are injured or fall sick on the job. You don’t need myths like these hampering your compensation claims.