What is Considered a Workplace Injury?
As an employer, you value your employees' hard work to keep your business running and profitable. Therefore, when one of your team members gets injured on the job, you should be able to count on your workers' comp policy to take care of the related medical costs.
If you don't already have this required coverage, you may be underestimating what counts as a workplace injury. But, believe it or not, a workers' compensation policy is well worth the investment in terms of how it can benefit your company and help you avoid costly government penalties.
What Qualifies as a Workplace Injury?
Most injuries that occur in your workplace or when conducting company business should qualify for workers' compensation coverage. This includes illnesses from exposure to dangerous chemicals, machinery, and other employment activities.
Some common examples of qualifying injuries include:
- Slips and Falls
- Struck by an Object
- Machinery Accidents
- Repetitive motion injuries (RMIs)
- Chemical exposure
- Burns and scrapes
- Cuts and lacerations
Workers' comp gives employees a set timeframe to report their on-the-job injuries to their employer. Once you're notified about the incident, you file a claim, and your insurer will review the details and handle the costs. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can assist you and your employee with your claim at all stages of the process. For instance, the attorney Nathan Goin helps workers with injuries to negotiate tax-free lump sum settlements, pursue denied medical treatment, such as therapy or surgery, as well as fight a denial of your workers' comp claim for you, if required.
Common Workers' Compensation Exclusions
Workers' comp coverage typically covers most workplace injury scenarios. However, there are a few exclusions to be aware of, including:
- Commuting to and from work (Not the same as business travel)
- Accident injuries due to Intoxication
- Intentional acts
- Illegal activities
- Injuries resulting from policy violations
- Covering terminated employees
Three Crucial Reasons to Carry Workers' Comp
As a business owner, it's important to treat workers' compensation as just another overhead cost you have to pay each month. It's the cornerstone of your risk management strategy and plays a crucial role in your workplace safety efforts. Your employees are an invaluable asset to your company, so don't hesitate to make this investment.
When choosing your policy, you should also weigh the benefits versus the cost of workers compensation insurance. Three clear advantages make it worthwhile to insure your organization against on-the-job accidents and illnesses:
Injured Workers Get Immediate Care
You may have one of the top-rated safest workplaces in your industry, but you can't prevent every injury. In fact, according to a Bureau of Labor report, nearly three million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported in 2020 by employers.
Getting access to care is a hurdle for many Americans, and as an employer, it's you need healthy workers to keep your business running. Workers' comp helps your team access care immediately if they get hurt while on the job, which means they can get better sooner and return to work.
Increased Financial Security
Have you ever looked at a medical bill from your doctor and experienced sticker shock? Imagine the larger-scale cost of a traumatic injury suffered by an employee. Without workers' compensation insurance, your company is solely responsible for the actual cost of medical expenses related to a worker getting hurt.
The prospect of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages, injury treatment, and potentially being sued for negligence would likely cause irreparable financial harm. Without a comprehensive workers' comp policy to protect your assets, your company could suffer reputational damage and potentially have to close due to insolvency. This won't be an issue if you're adequately insured.
Never Worry about Non-Compliance Penalties
Unless you run a Texas business, a workers' compensation policy is legally required in every state. However, this requirement does, as do regulatory guidelines for coverage and how you purchase this insurance.
Companies that fail to comply with the guidelines of their state can face financial penalties, including fines, inability to contract with other businesses, and even possibly going to jail. These consequences are motivation enough to buy coverage and never worry about compliance again.
Additional Risks of Not Carrying Workers' Compensation
Aside from governmental consequences, failing to have a workers' comp policy can hurt your business in additional ways.
Your company's reputation relies on your employees' hard work to create products and/or services that customers love. When workplace injuries occur, the last thing you need is negative press about poor response to these incidents. If word gets out that working conditions are dangerous and hurt employees aren't protected by insurance, the damage to your brand could be irreparable.
Worse, you might find yourself named in a lawsuit alleging negligence on your part. The legal fees to defend against these allegations can cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. Can you afford to keep operating if your finances are being lost to defense costs and compensation settlements?
Workers' Comp is an Essential Piece of Your Risk Management Strategy
Knowing what your business stands to lose without workers' compensation insurance, you should be able to justify its cost. It can be an expensive investment but compared to shouldering the cost of workplace injuries out of your own pocket, it's worthwhile in many ways, but most importantly for your employees. Without them, you wouldn't be the success you are today.