The Top 7 Questions About Workers Compensation Insurance
When you own your own business, you find yourself juggling many responsibilities. From payroll to inventory, it seems that the work never ends. However, there is one area that you just can’t afford to put on the back burner: workers compensation insurance. Work-related injuries are always tragic and they can quickly become a legal nightmare. That’s why every business owner should take action in advance by choosing a reliable workers compensation insurance for their business insurance plan.
The Most Common Workplace Injuries
- The U.S. Dept. of Labor reported 4,679 fatal work-related injuries in 2014.
- More than 10,000 severe work-related injuries were reported in 2015.
- In 2015, work related injuries led to 2,644 amputations and 7,636 hospitalizations.
- Injuries were most common in the food processing, warehousing, storage, and general freight trucking sectors.
Work-related injuries can vary dramatically from one industry to the next, ranging from simple slip-and-fall accidents to repetitive motion injuries or machine entanglement. Overexertion injuries are by far the most common, costing American businesses $15.1 billion each year. A maintenance worker could slip on a wet floor and get a concussion, or a machine worker could lose a hand after an accident. If you don’t have workers compensation insurance for your business and the incident leads to a lawsuit, you could be on the hook for legal fees and judgments.
1. What Is Workers Compensation Insurance?
While no business owner wants to see a worker injured, accidents happen all the time. As an employer, you are legally obligated to make sure that you provide a safe workplace and compensation in the event of an accident or injury. Workers compensation insurance provides you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your business is always covered, even in a worst-case scenario. If someone gets hurt on the job, your workers comp policy will make it possible to provide complete medical care benefits along with lost wages until your employee is well enough to return to work.
2. What Injuries Does Workers Compensation Cover?
Workmans comp insurance covers the majority of injuries that arise from work-related duties, giving you a safety net for any injury sustained when an employee is on the job. The most common workmans comp injuries are related to traffic accidents that occur while an employee is driving for work-related purposes. While the commute to and from the workplace is not be covered in most cases, any travel done specifically for work-related purposes is covered. Workmans comp also covers some illnesses and diseases that are contracted as a direct result of employment. This is typically related to toxic chemicals, and laws about covered illnesses vary from state to state.
3. How Much Does Workers Compensation Cost?
Workers comp premiums vary depending on the size of your payroll, the type of work your employees do, and the state where you live. A small business might only pay around $2,000 per year for workers compensation coverage, while a larger company with many employees could pay upwards of $100,000 per year. Another factor that greatly impacts the cost of workmans comp insurance is previous claims history. If your business is focused on a sector that is known to be dangerous, such as machine work or logging, you’ll likely pay higher premiums than a business that offers simple office work, like an accounting firm.
4. Who Does Workers Comp Cover?
Your workers comp policy provides coverage for both full-time and part-time employees. If there’s a change in your business structure or payroll, it’s always a smart idea to check with your insurance agent to find out if that will impact your coverage and premiums. Coverage rules vary from one state to the next, and can also vary depending on employee’s occupation. Some states only require workers compensation insurance if you have a minimum number of employees, while other states exempt some categories of workers. Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents can provide you with the specific coverage rules in your area.
5. How Can You Get Lower Workers Comp Insurance Rates?
There are several steps you can take to minimize the premiums you pay for workers compensation insurance. First, take steps to manage your risks. Make every effort to keep the workplace environment safe for your employees to minimize accident risks. Discounts on workers comp will hinge largely on experience modifiers. This means that your insurance provider will offer a customized premium based on previous losses. This is yet another reason to make a safe workplace a priority, because fewer accidents and losses can translate into future savings on your workers comp insurance rate.
The best strategy to reduce your workers comp cost is to compare premiums. A Trusted Choice agent can help you find the most cost-effective workmans comp insurance by offering customized quotes on from multiple insurance companies. By taking time to compare premiums, you’ll get peace of mind, knowing that you’re not paying too much for workmans comp while also providing for your employees should they be injured.
6. What Should You Do If an Employee Is Injured on the Job?
An employee injures his back while moving a heavy box. A worker slips on the freshly mopped floor and hits his head on a desk. A machine worker gets his arm caught in your equipment and suffers a massive injury or loses a limb. In any of these situations, the key is to act quickly. Your first priority should always be to seek medical attention for the injured employee. If the injury is serious, call 911 right away.
Once the employee receives medical attention, it’s time to start thinking about how your business will handle the situation. You will need to file a report with your workers compensation insurance company as soon as possible. In most states, this must be done within 30 days of the injury. At this point, your workers comp company will guide you through the necessary steps to provide proper documentation of the accident.
7. Does Workers Compensation Protect against Lawsuits?
Before workers compensation insurance was first created in the early 20th century, an employee could sue the business owner after a work-related injury or accident. The legal process was always cumbersome and the outcomes were often not what the employers hoped for. This led to a nationwide conversation about a better system and the eventual beginnings of workmans comp as we know it today.
In practically every case, workers compensation acts as a safety guard against lawsuits, but there are times when you can still be sued. These lawsuits are generally restricted to situations where an employee suffered a fatal accident and the employer is accused of gross negligence. The rules regarding lawsuits vary from state to state, so it’s best to check with your insurance agent and your state workers compensation regulator to see what is and isn’t covered, so you can best ensure complete legal protection.
How to Buy Workers Compensation Insurance
Choosing the best workers comp insurance starts with talking to an experienced independent insurance agents at Trusted Choice. Our agents can help you navigate your options for workers compensation in your state and match you with budget-friendly policies that offer maximum protection for your business. A Trusted Choice agent can provide you with rate quotes from a wide network of carriers, giving you the best chance to find affordable, reliable protection against work-related injuries for your business. Contact an agent today to learn more about workers compensation insurance and get a free customized workers comp insurance quote for your business.
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