As an employee of your current company, you can go to work every day secure in the knowledge that you will receive compensation should you become injured or ill on the job. All companies are required by state and federal law to provide workers’ compensation, as well as liability and health insurance (to a certain extent).
So say you got injured or fell ill while at work. What do you do? How do you go about filing the claim to receive workers’ compensation? Here’s what you need to know...
1. Know Your Rights
First off, know what workers’ compensation really means!
Simply put, if you are injured on the job or develop an illness due to your line of work, you are eligible for workers compensation.
- Injuries sustained while at work
- Repetitive stress injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic pain from sitting, etc.)
- Stress-related injuries (the result of work conditions)
- PTSD/mental injuries resulting from work
- Occupational illnesses (such as heart attacks from high-stress jobs or hernias from jobs requiring a lot of manual labor)
- Death in the workplace
2. Know When You're Covered and When You're Not
You are covered if:
- You are injured in the workplace
- You are injured at company events (even if not held at the workplace)
- You are injured or fall ill while on a business trip for your company
- You suffer from a pre-existing condition made worse by your job
- You suffer from hearing loss as a result of a noisy work environment
- You suffer trauma or mental illness as a result of your work
You are not covered if:
- You are injured while traveling to and from work every day
- You are injured while violating a safety rule or doing something prohibited by the employer (though, in some cases, workers’ compensation is still handed out)
- You cannot prove that your injury or illness is work-related
3. File Immediately
If you are going to file for workers’ compensation, you must file your claim immediately. Delaying filing could lead to problems with the paperwork, and may even cause the request for compensation to be denied. The sooner you submit the claim, the better!
4. Report the Injury to Your Employer
To file the claim for workers’ compensation, you simply need to notify your employer of the injury received or illness resulting from your work. The employer will usually send you to the Human Resources department, where you will fill out a simple form.
The U.S. Department of Labor also has a list of all the forms you might need to fill out to report the injury or illness. There are over two dozen forms on the website, but you only need to choose the one for your situation. Luckily, they can be filled out electronically.
5. Get Your Paycheck
The employer will file the report to your insurance company, which in turn, will submit the claim to the Workers’ Compensation Board in your state. The insurance carrier will then issue your paycheck (often 14 days after the report has been filed).
The U.S. Government has ensured that the process of filing for and receiving workers’ compensation is as streamlined as possible, helping you get your hands on the income you need to pay your bills, as you recover from your work-related illness or injury.