What should you know about workers' compensation?

Each year in North Carolina, workers suffer injuries while on the job. As a result, many need to cover medical bills and personal expenses while they are recovering from their injuries and are unable to work. For that reason, it is important to understand workers' compensation.

What is worker's compensation?

It is an insurance program, mandated by the state, that is responsible for ensuring that legally-mandated payments are made to workers who are hurt or disabled while at work. Worker's compensation is administered by each state, so it is important to check on the specifications of the program in your state.

Where can I find it in my state?

Your can find the program in your state by looking at the official State Worker's Compensation page on the website of the Department of Labor.

Does it matter whose fault the injury was?

Injured employees will typically get worker's compensation insurance regardless of whose fault their injury was. The insurance, by covering the cost of treating the employees' injuries, precludes the employees from suing their employers for those costs.

What injuries are not covered?

Although most injuries are covered, whether they were the employer's fault or the employee's fault, injuries that occurred while the employee was under the influence may not be covered. If an employee was believed to be under the influence when his or her injury was suffered, the state can subject him or her to a drug test.

Coverage can also be denied if the injuries that an employee suffered were self-inflicted, if he or she was breaking a law or a company policy at the time of the injury, or if he or she was neither working not at a workplace at the time of the injury.

What do payments cover?

In addition to medical care and replacement income for time away from work, worker's compensation can also cover retraining costs, compensation for permanent injuries and compensation for family members of employees who are killed while working. They do not, however, cover pain and suffering. None of the payments are taxed.

Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Comp Benefits Explained," accessed Dec. 06, 2017

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