You may have heard about workers’ compensation, whether you’ve previously been injured at work or not. You may be wondering the specifics about it. Where does it come from? Is it regulated by the government? What are your rights? The following should help you get a jump start on some answers.
Every state has laws that govern workers’ compensation. It’s a privilege for almost every worker in the nation, though laws vary from state to state. Even if you’ve previously dealt with a claim in another state, you should strive to understand what your current state laws are. For example, in Arkansas, state employees are not covered under workers’ compensation, but in Arizona, most state employees do have coverage.
One of the big benefits of workers’ compensation is employees do not have to pay premiums. The employers pay for state workers’ comp funds, which are distributed to the injured employee after certain requirements are met. Some states allow employers to self-insure, so their funds would come from a private insurance company instead of the state’s workers’ compensation agency.
Differences in Injury Coverage
States don’t just differ in which employees are covered under workers’ compensation. There are also difference in the types of injuries that are covered. You might also have to provide certain types of proof for certain injuries. Some states protect employers from employees with self-inflicted injuries, and others protect employers from employees who show up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Not every workers’ compensation claim is due to an injury sustained at work. Some are related to illnesses. For example, someone in the coal industry could discover years later that he or she has developed black lung disease from being exposed to coal dust for an extended period of time. While this isn’t a sudden injury, it is a disease that could be compensable by the state. Some other occupational illnesses that may qualify include HIV, heart attack, allergic reactions, asbestosis and other similar conditions.
Suing an Employer
In most cases, you can’t sue your employer if you receive workers’ compensation benefits. There are a couple exceptions. First, if the employer intentionally hurt you, you may have a civil case against him or her. Second, if your injury was outside your work assignment, you might also have a case.
Gaining More Information
There’s a lot of information you’ll need when dealing with workers’ compensation. Whether you’re still unsure where the benefits will come from or you don’t know how to begin your case, contact a workers’ comp attorney, like a workers compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, today to start gathering information.