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Intro to workers' insurance

Many types of insurance are considered mandatory. For example, most automobile owners must carry insurance on their vehicles. In addition, some agricultural companies are required to carry environmental protection insurance. There are also types of insurance that can protect companies from specific risks in a particular field.

However, there is one type of general insurance that nearly all businesses with employees must carry – workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance can cover employee medical bills, partial missed wages, and other related expenses if the employee is injured while completing covered work-related duties. Workers’ comp also applies if the employee gets sick while working. It may also cover “death benefits,” such as funeral expenses, if the employee is killed while performing job-related duties.

Workers’ insurance is usually a “no-fault” type of insurance, meaning that it is not relevant whose fault the injury or accident was. This removes the focus from blame and liability and facilitates getting the employee healed and back to work safely. It should be noted, however, that workers’ compensation insurance only applies to “covered” workplace incidents. Workers’ insurance may not cover medical bills for someone who is intoxicated while on the job, for example. It may also not apply if the injury occurs during a scheduled break time, like on a lunch break.

Types of workers’ compensation benefits

There are five basic types of workers’ compensation benefits: medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits.

  • Medical care: Workers’ insurance will pay for hospital bills, doctors’ visits, or surgery costs related to on-the-job injuries.
  • Temporary disability: This type of situation occurs when the employee sustains an injury or illness that prevents them from returning to work for a prolonged period, but will return to their previous job at some point. In this instance, workers’ insurance will pay the employee for a portion of their missed wages (the percentage varies by state).
  • Permanent disability: Permanent disability occurs when an employee sustains an injury or illness so life-altering that it prevents them from returning to work in their previous job. There are two types of permanent disability:

    • Permanent partial disability is when the injury or illness is permanent but does not completely prevent them from returning to work.
    • Permanent total disability, in which the injury or illness is permanent and precludes them from returning to work because of it.
  • While permanent disability payments do not make up a majority of workers’ comp cases, they can be costly for the insurer because the payments could be prolonged.
  • Supplemental job displacement: Workers’ insurance may provide compensation for an employee who suffers a permanent partial disability and cannot return to their former job. This type of compensation helps pay for education, career retraining, and other skill enhancements or classes needed to help that employee work in a different job.
  • Death benefits: This type of workers’ compensation benefit occurs when the employee suffers a work-related fatality. Workers’ insurance often pays burial and funeral expenses and provide some compensation for the employee’s dependents and/or family.

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Workers’ compensation disability ratings

When it comes to temporary or permanent disability, it is important to understand how a workers’ compensation disability rating is assigned. This rating helps indicate the type of injury, its severity, and where it is on the employee’s body. In other words, a workers’ compensation disability rating is a quantifiable way of helping to determine what level of workers’ compensation insurance should be paid out.

One way to understand these ratings is to consider how much the injury affects the employee’s level of functionality and how long the recovery can take. For example, an injury that results in the need for surgery with many days in the hospital will have much more of an impact compared to an injury that requires only a short period of time to recover and doesn’t inhibit the employee’s ability to perform their previous work functions. The level of impact the injury has on an employee’s life and the ability for them to work translates into a single rating, which helps determine how much compensation the employee can/will receive because of that injury.

How to file for workers’ comp

Filing a work injury compensation claim is a process that involves the business owner, the employee and the workers’ insurance company.

First, the employee must report the injury or illness as soon as possible following the incident. This step is critical; if there is any delay, the employee risks worsening the injury or could even cast doubt on their injury compensation claim. Employees should be advised to report everything related to the injury, even something that seems like a minor symptom. These are important details that could result in variations in workers’ insurance compensation later.

Next, the business owner or supervisor should file an incident report and submit the report to the insurance company. Employees are encouraged to keep a copy of the incident report for their records.

At CompSource Mutual, we want to ensure that the claims process is straightforward for everyone involved. Here is a checklist of some factors to consider when filing an injury compensation claim:

  • Has or will the employee miss time from work due to the injury?
  • Where did the employee go for treatment, and what is the treatment facility’s address and phone number?
  • Was an accident report filled out?
  • Were there any witnesses, and did they fill out a witness report?

Additionally, if the injury was caused by a third party or someone else who could be liable, the employer should be sure to document all relevant information.

Once an incident report has been filed and sent to the insurance company, the business owner should work closely with the insurance company, and the employee, to make sure that all medical care and other details are covered properly.

Why CompSource Mutual

Worker’s insurance is a critical component of starting or running any business. At CompSource Mutual, we’re experienced with a wide range of businesses and industries across the state of Oklahoma. Our team is uniquely qualified to get you coverage that makes sense at a fair price.

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Typically, yes. If an employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome directly from work-related duties, then that injury can be covered by workers’ insurance.

There are many types of workers’ comp claims, so there is a huge range of workers’ insurance payouts. For a minor temporary injury, the payout may be $1,000 or less; for ongoing permanent disability, the worker may receive up to $953.18 per week in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, death benefits have a cap of $10,000.

A certificate of insurance is a document that shows the named insured’s coverage. It states the effective and expiration dates, the carrier, policy number, and certifies the insured had coverage at the time the certificate was issued.Your workers’ insurance certificate should always be available from your workers’ insurance provider.

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