Workers' compensation, a no-fault insurance plan, provides guaranteed financial payments for work related injuries and illnesses. Financial compensation includes lost wages (i.e. temporary disability payments), medical bills, and lump sum permanent disability payments. The goal of the workers' compensation system is to get the injured worker back to work, by providing prompt payments and avoiding the delay, expense, and animosity of a law suit. In fact, the injured worker gives up the right to sue on a theory of negligence in exchange for workers' compensation.
Little Legal Proof Required
The injured worker only needs to show that he or she was indeed injured in the scope of employment; there is no need to show that the employer was negligent or otherwise liable for the injuries. The employer is unable to defend against a workers' compensation claim other than to show that the worker was not injured within the scope of employment. However, to assert such claims, injured workers should recognize that the timeframes for filing such claims expire within only days of an incident. Employees are encouraged to inquire of their employers as to forms and applicable deadlines.
Workers' Compensation Insurance is Required
Almost all employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance. If an employer doesn’t have workers' compensation, they are, likely, breaking the law; and, the injured worker has the right to file a lawsuit in civil court to recover for injuries.
Temporary Workers are Covered by Homeowner's Insurance
Even if you are a temporary worker working on someone’s home, such as a plumber installing a new shower or a roofer installing a new roof, you are covered under a workers' compensation provision in the homeowner’s insurance policy.
Safety Rules Must be Followed at Risk of Award Reduction
A worker must follow all laws and company safety rules or risk having his or her workers' compensation award reduced. For instance, if you are injured while driving on the job and failed to wear your seatbelt, your workers' compensation award will be significantly reduced, perhaps, by 30%.