Although most people understand that their employer most likely carries workers’ compensation insurance for them, that doesn’t mean they fully appreciate what that entails. As a result, they can become frustrated when, after being injured on the job, these misconceptions come to light. Even if you never find yourself in this situation, it’s still for the best that you have a firm understanding of workers’ compensation, just in case. Let’s begin by clearing up some common misconceptions.
It’s Insurance, Not Welfare
Some people have actually taken issue with workers’ compensation because they see it as a sort of welfare. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. As we mentioned above, it’s actually a form of insurance. While many companies are legally required to take it out, they do so in order to protect themselves in the future if anything happens to one of their employees. In this way, it’s insurance that protects both parties: employers and staff.
Workers’ Compensation Is Not a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
Generally, workers’ compensation will pay for your medical bills and the wages you lost while you were away from your job. Vocational rehabilitation will be covered, as necessary, as well. Pain and suffering isn’t, strictly speaking. Usually, someone who gets workers’ compensation only has about 60% of their gross income paid out. Inflation isn’t taken into account.
This is why it’s especially odd to hear about people trying to intentionally hurt themselves in order to get workers’ compensation. Again, it’s insurance, not a lottery ticket.
That being said, it still pays—literally—to have the most qualified workers’ compensation attorney possible at your side, in order to get the best results possible.
You Can’t Refuse Work
If an injury you sustained keeps you out of the workforce for life, you will be compensated appropriately. However, if you can get reasonable employment elsewhere or doing something else for the same employer, then workers’ compensation will be rescinded.
While there will be parameters that constitute “reasonable employment”, if a position comes available, you can’t turn it down and expect compensation checks to keep coming. You can’t remain unemployed for any reason, other than the injury you incurred.
Fraud Is Actually Quite Rare
As we mentioned earlier, workers’ compensation fraud definitely occurs. However, it’s not a common problem, at all. According to the Accident Fund Insurance Company, fewer than 4% of the claims they refuse ever get busted as being fraudulent.
Filing workers’ compensation requires more than just sending in your document. You will also have to get examined by a doctor approved by the insurance company. Often, the company will even keep tabs on you to ensure you’re not out spending your days golfing when you said you had back problems.
For the most part, people really do want to work for a living. Usually, workers’ compensation claims are filed, people get what they’re owed and eventually end up back at work.
Hopefully this clarity has helped you better understand workers’ compensation so that, if you’re ever injured on the job, you’ll know what to expect.