Work Comp for Employees

Workers' Compensation Insurance Explained for Employees

(And how to better protect yourself)

Workers' compensation for employees

Employee FAQs

  1. Does an injured employee have to pay for medical treatment?
  2. Should you stay in contact with your employer during temporary disability from a workers' compensation claim?
  3. How long does medical treatment last?
  4. What options does an employee have if they disagree with the treating physician's findings or medical treatment?
  5. What if an employee is not receiving the benefits they deserve?
  6. Will an employee have to use their sick or vacation time while off work due to a compensable injury?
  7. Is an employee paid for the time that they spent attending physician's appointments?
  8. Is mental health covered under a workers' compensation policy?

As a W-2 employee, you are not required to purchase workers' compensation insurance. However, knowing a bit about what it can mean to you could save you some unnecessary expenses. 

Knowing your rights as an employee is important and could mean the difference of your employer footing the bill on medical expenses or you.

Your independent insurance agent is another great resource when it comes to knowing what your employer is responsible for as far as worker's compensation insurance goes. Ignorance is not bliss when your money is involved. 

What Is Worker's Compensation Insurance?

Workers' compensation insurance is a policy held by the employer or subcontractor that pays for expenses relating to injury as a result of getting hurt on the job. For a W-2 employee, you are covered under your employer's workers' compensation policy if they have one. 

Some states mandate that employers have this policy in place and others do not. Each employee is assigned a classification code depending on what their job duties entail. The riskier the job duty, the higher the workers' compensation premium is for your employer.

Did you hear that? Your employer is the one who pays the premiums on workers' compensation insurance. Just another perk of a proactive boss.

Common Employee Questions about Workers' Compensation Insurance

As an employee, you may have some questions about what your rights are concerning your employer's workers' compensation insurance. Some of the most common questions are answered below for your reference.

Employee workers' compensation questions:

Q. Does an injured employee have to pay for medical treatment?
A. If your employer has a current workers' compensation policy in place, then as a qualified employee you can file a claim against it for an injury that you sustained at work. If your employer does not have a workers' compensation policy in place, then you may need to get legal counsel on your options for medical expenses if your employer is unwilling to pay.
Q. Should you stay in contact with your employer during temporary disability from a workers' compensation claim?
A. Yes. Staying in contact with your employer is beneficial for both parties involved and can get you back to work sooner with light-duty tasks until you are ready to go back to your regularly scheduled program.
Q. How long does medical treatment last?
A. The treatment lasts for the length of your injury recovery according to a physician's orders.
Q. What options does an employee have if they disagree with the treating physician’s findings or medical treatment?
A. An employee is not required to see certain physicians and may choose ones according to their liking. However, the insurance company can call for a third opinion of their own choosing to make sure that your picked second opinion is worthy.
Q. What if an employee is not receiving the benefits they deserve?
A. There are a number of options here, but the best resource is your independent insurance agent and/or legal counsel. Your independent insurance agent can fight on your behalf where they have jurisdiction, and they will be able to tell you when they think you should hire legal counsel. 
Q. Will an employee have to use their sick or vacation time while off work due to a compensable injury?
A. This depends, and is best discussed with your employer's workers' compensation claims adjuster. If you find their information or coverage unsatisfactory, then your own independent insurance agent or legal counsel can chime in.
Q. Is an employee paid for the time that they spent attending physician’s appointments?
A. The long and short of it is no. While you wouldn't have to go to those doctor's appointments if it were not for injury, most workers' compensation policies will not provide coverage for time spent attending them.
Q. Is mental health covered under a worker's compensation policy?
A. It can be. If there is adequate proof that mental health or psychiatric treatment is needed as a result of a problematic work environment, then yes, coverage would follow suit.

How Do You Know if Your Employer Has a Workers' Compensation Policy?

The simple way to go about it is just ask. This shouldn't be hidden from employees and could even be a bargaining chip when establishing a new job. If your employer isn't willing to have proper coverage for employees, then they may not be worth working for in the long run. 

Which employers provide workers' compensation coverage depends on whether or not your state mandates that employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. If the state does not require it, then your employer should still have the coverage regardless of how many employees they have. 

Unfortunately, not all employers are so willing to spare the extra expense that comes with a workers' compensation policy. To better protect yourself, asking your employer questions from the onset of employment is key regarding their worker's compensation policy and how it applies to you.

Independent Insurance Agent

How Can an Independent Insurance Agent Be Beneficial?

There are so many ways that an independent insurance agent can be beneficial to an employee. Just to name a few, let's start with their knowledge. 

They know a whole lot about insurance and what is required by your employer, and they can help you fight the good fight and know your rights when it comes to worker's compensation insurance. 

If you're being treated unfairly, they can point you to proper coverage or legal counsel. Most agents have established relationships with local legal counsel to refer their clients to. 

An independent insurance agent can also provide competitive rates and quotes on all your personal insurance needs. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?

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