You may not have paid much attention to workers’ compensation until now, after suffering a work-related injury and are in a position to file a claim.
This may be a good time for a brief review of this form of insurance and why it is called the “compensation bargain.”
State law requirement
Workers’ compensation is insurance that employers must carry. It provides replacement for lost wages, plus coverage for medical expenses for any employee injured on the job. This is good news for the worker. The employer also benefits because when the business purchases coverage, the employee loses the right to sue the employer for a work-related injury while the workers’ compensation policy is in force. Because the system protects both parties and limits legal recourse for such injuries, it is sometimes called the ”compensation bargain.”
What coverage includes
Each state has its own plan, but here are some benefits that are generally included:
- Medical treatment for work-related injuries
- Treatment for occupational hazards, such as exposure to disease
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Permanent impairment, such as the loss of a limb
- Death benefit for payment to survivor dependents
- Employer liability where the employer is liable for injury to a third party
Facts you may not know
In most cases, you are not required to be a legal U.S. resident to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As an employee, you are eligible for benefits no matter who was responsible for your work-related injury. An independent contractor may also qualify for benefits as an employee.
Choosing medical care
It is usually up to the insurance carrier to provide physician information and steer the course of medical treatment for an injured employee. If the employee wishes to choose the provider, he or she must petition the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Because filing a workers’ compensation claim can become a somewhat complex undertaking, as in this example, you may wish to explore your legal options. A legal advocate experienced with the system can help you take full advantage of the “compensation bargain” and avoid pitfalls.