Workers' compensation is an insurance program mandated by the state that allows those who suffer injuries and illness as a result of their regular employment to receive compensation. Federal employees are eligible for workers' compensation from the government, while state rules and regulations dictate eligibility for state-based compensation. The premise of workers' compensation is that fault for the accident does not matter, and a worker is able to get the help they need even if they caused their accident. In exchange for providing these benefits, employees are not able to sue their employer in court for damages.
What should I know about workers' compensation?
Just because workers' compensation can be seen as an agreement between an employer and employee to avoid settling injuries in court does not mean a worker does not have rights when it comes to collecting workers' compensation. Especially if you have not yet spoken with an attorney, you may have some misconceptions about workers' compensation that is preventing you from getting the full benefits you deserve.
Some common workers' compensation myths include:
- Workers' compensation is the same as suing an employer for damages
- An employee should be compensated for pain and suffering
- Only being employed for a short period prevents an employee from collecting
- The company doctor is the only one that can make a determination of injuries
- An employee that has suffered an injury cannot be fired by their employer
- Companies have their own lawyers, so an employee will not need to hire their own
- An employer with few employees does not need to have workers' comp insurance
By being aware of the ways that workers' compensation can and cannot be used, a worker is able to better navigate their claim. When someone is facing a life-changing injury, they need to be sure that they are taking all of the proper steps to take care of their medical needs. Workers' compensation is an excellent tool for protecting an employee, but there are many ways where it can be misconstrued to deny a worker the compensation they need.