Since the first comprehensive workers’ compensation law past more than a century ago, legislation surrounding workers’ compensation benefits has changed dramatically and varied from state to state. In addition to state differences, legislation between state and federal workers’ compensation differs significantly, each offering unique solutions and problems.
To better understand the complexity of workers’ compensation claims, the below list contains ten surprising facts about the current workers’ compensation laws you may not know about:
1. Before workers’ compensation, injured employees had to turn to the courts for help.
Often times employers would consider the employee negligent in causing their injuries and not provide any kind of financial compensation.
2. State-mandated workers’ compensation insurance completely depends on the number of employees at the workplace and the business’ industry.
Georgia’s workers’ compensation law requires insurance if there are more than 3 employees at any workplace, whereas California requires it for all employers and work situations.
3. While workers’ compensation claims cover medical expenses, lost wages, and financial support for disabilities, it does not compensate for pain and suffering.
Personal injury lawsuits, on the other hand, can financially compensate for pain and suffering endured after sustaining an accident.
4. An employee can choose to sue the employer after sustaining an injury.
He or she can sue the employer for reckless or intentional act that caused or contributed to the injury, but first must waive his or her right to workers’ compensation.
5. If a person collects workers’ compensation benefits, he or she gives up the right to file a lawsuit.
A third party who was at-fault can have a personal injury suit filed against them.
6. Most workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable.
Workers’ compensation awarded under the workers’ comp act are exempt from taxes, including payments to survivors after a fatal accident.
7. It is possible to receive benefits after returning to work.
Situations that may permit continued benefits include permanent partial disability and if you are making less than your before-injury paycheck.
8. You can be paid social security and workers’ compensation at the same time.
Most likely the social security benefits will be reduced or taxed, but it is possible!
9. Workers’ compensation can be awarded if you weren’t injured at the physical workplace.
While it is officially dependent on the state, it is possible to receive workers’ comp if the injury happened “within the scope of employment”. The scope of employment may include running errands at the request of the employer or attending an employer-sponsored event.
10. Private insurance companies pay out workers’ compensation benefits.
It is commonly thought the state pays out benefits, but it actually is handled by an adjuster from the private insurance company.
While some workers’ compensation laws are uniform across states and on the federal level, there are many that differ from state to state. To best inform yourself as an employee, it is recommended to talk to your employer and to revisit the specific laws in your state.
If you happen to be involved in a workers’ compensation claim or were recently injured on the job, a qualified workers’ compensation attorney can help guide you through the complexities of a claim!