Workers’ compensation is insurance that allows you to receive your wages and medical benefits when you can’t perform your job due to injuries sustained on the job through no fault of your own. If you are ever hurt and unable to work, workers’ compensation can really be a lifesaver. However, when you opt into workers’ compensation, you waive some of your rights, so there are many factors that you should consider when deciding if it is the best option for you.
What are the relevant workers’ compensation laws?
These laws vary by state, so it’s important to know which ones apply to you. The U.S. Department of Labor website lists contact information for the workers’ compensation official for each state. Most state websites also have a page that explains the local worker’s compensation laws. It’s also important to be sure that your information is current; several states revised their laws just in 2012.
When you enroll in workers’ compensation, you give up your right to sue your employer for any accidents or injuries you suffer. Many people see this as a reasonable trade, but it is important to know what exactly your state workers’ compensation will entitle you to before making the decision. In turn, it’s also important to understand what your other options are.
What is covered by insurance, and what is covered by workers’ compensation?
If you don’t elect to have workers’ compensation, you will need some other form of insurance. So, analyzing the relative expenses and coverage of each type of insurance is a smart way to decide which is the best fit for you. You can think about the type of work you do on a daily basis, the accidents that are most likely to happen, and incidents that have happened with other employees at your company; then you can compare the relevant coverage offered by each type of insurance.
Ultimately, both forms of insurance present unique benefits and drawbacks. Worker’s compensation provides wage replacement if you are deemed unable to work after your injury; if you have a family to support, this could be especially important. On the other hand, if you have your own insurance coverage, you wouldn’t receive wages, but you would have the option of seeking other forms of redress from your employer.
What are your injuries, and how long will you be incapable of working?
Both of these factors should really affect your choice. Workers’ compensation is great to have when you are facing long-term or severe injuries. If you won’t be able to work for a while, you’ll need a source of income. If you have to see a number of specialists or undergo various procedures, receiving your usual medical benefits will be critical. On the other hand, if you have an injury that you can recover from fairly quickly, or one that won’t completely prevent you from working, you may be better off with another type of insurance coverage.
Of course, there are cases where an injury isn’t well understood, or recovery time is hard to project, which can make it difficult to know what your best option is. It’s worth remembering that in the worst-case event that you face a longer recovery than expected or other complications, workers’ compensation will have you covered.
Workers’ compensation offers many advantages and is beneficial in many situations, but you should make sure that it is the best option for you. Being vigilant and using best practices should be a priority when you’re at work; if you’re careful, you may never need to worry about workers’ compensation or other forms of insurance. But, should the need arise, make sure you take the time to honestly assess your needs and figure out what your best option is.