What kinds of damages are covered under Workers Compensation?
In order to cover the financial losses that occur due to injuries caused to an employee at work, legislatures of different states have passed workers’ compensation legislation. Depending upon the type and severity of the injury suffered by an employee, the workers’ compensation laws of different states have different amounts fixed for the sufferers of the injuries. The amount that is to be paid to an injured employee is fixed. Therefore, employers do not have to worry about large judgments in a personal injury trial. Workers’ compensation is reimbursement and a kind of trade-off process.
The process is simplified in order to make it easier for the employees to get benefits from workers’ compensation. In most cases, there is no need to hire an attorney except when the workers’ compensation claim has to be handled. The request for benefits can simply be submitted to the employer. Evidence is not required to be gathered by any hired attorney. Similarly, there is no need for conduct depositions or to prepare and file pleadings.
The legislation of most states requires the employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers who are entitled for workers’ compensation benefits must be classified as employees by the employer.
Certain workers are not entitled to the benefits of workers’ compensation. This depends upon the rules of the state. Some examples of such employees are:
- Domestic workers
- Agricultural workers
- Seasonal workers
- Undocumented workers
Types of injuries covered by Workers’ Compensation
According to legislations of different states, the specific types of injuries for which the benefits of workers’ compensation are provided vary from state to state. The laws of different states distinguish between temporary and permanent disability as well as partial and total disability. The most common types of injuries for which workers’ compensation is available in most states are as follows:
- Injuries that are severe and result in a catastrophic loss such as traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, severe burns and permanent scarring or disfiguring injuries. These injuries can also be amputation or loss of limb.
- Injuries that result in loss of mobility or repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve damage, tendon, ligament or muscle damage.
- Injury resulting in damage to joint or connective tissue of the feet, ankles, legs and hip. This also includes injury to hands, arms and shoulders.
- Diseases that occur as a result of work or occupational activities, also known as occupational diseases, such as silicosis, cancer, mesothelioma and heart diseases.
- Mental health issues such as depression, stress and anxiety occurring as a result of occupational activities.
The Workers’ Compensation Process
When an injury occurs, it should be reported to the employer within 30-34 days. The time limit varies according to the laws of the different states. The employer, once notified, advises the state workers’ compensation board and the workers’ compensation insurance.
The insurance company or the employer requires the injured to see a doctor. The doctor is consulted to find out whether the injury is work related and the time required for the employee to heal. There are cases when insurance companies do not accept a workers’ compensation claim. In such cases, the employee can file an appeal with the state’s worker compensation board.