Image via Unsplash by K. Mitch Hodge
When it comes to workers’ compensation insurance, things are more complex than ever. Not only do employers have to understand preexisting parameters, but they must also become acclimated with new restrictions that he COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in. For instance, employers are now tasked with providing a safe work environment, as well as PPE, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This has added a whole new layer to workers’ compensation insurance’s already complicated nature and how America’s Back Office can assist you.
Let’s Review the Workers’ Compensation Basics
First, let’s review what exactly workers’ compensation benefits entail. If an employee becomes injured while working at your company, you may be responsible for providing:
- Medical treatment.
- Wage replacement benefits.
- Vocational rehabilitation.
- Other relevant benefits.
Many employers do not fully understand the types of injuries it is meant to cover. Here is a list to help you better understand.
- Hearing Loss: If you foster a boisterous work environment, you may need to compensate your employees if this causes hearing loss.
- Lack of Signage and PPE: If an employee becomes injured due to improper signage or the lack of PPE, you may be held liable. These standards are upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- Occupational Injuries: If your work environment exposes your employees to hazardous materials, you will be held liable if your employees become injured due to this repeated exposure.
- Traumatic Experiences: If you have a work environment that caused or triggered stress or other psychological disorders, you will need to compensate all affected employees.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries: Also known as overuse injuries, repetitive stress injuries occur when employees are subjected to work environments that require them to perform repetitive movements that can result in injury. These injuries are most familiar to those who work in manual labor, clerical work, and health care.
The Gray Area
Although this seems straightforward, there is often a gray area in terms of whether an employee should be held liable or not. However, by working with a professional employment organization (PEO), such as the one we offer here at America’s Back Office, you will have the advantage of being advised by experts who understand all aspects of workers’ compensation laws.
Workers’ Compensation Exceptions
Despite the list mentioned above of injuries that workers’ compensation insurance covers, employers will likely not be held liable if any of the following are true:
- Drug/Alcohol Use: If the injured person tests positive for alcohol or any other drug.
- Non-Working Hours: If the injury occurs during a time when the person is outside of their scheduled workday.
- Self-Inflicted: If the injury occurs due to horseplay, fighting, failing to follow protocol, etc.
- Criminal Activity: If the employee becomes injured while committing a crime (e.g., stealing from the company, vandalism, etc.).
- Unsafe Practices: If the employee becomes injured due to ignoring the company’s rules and regulations.
The Trouble with Workers’ Compensation Claims Management and Reporting
No matter how or why an employee becomes injured, they have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Although it may seem to be a straightforward process, managing workers’ compensation claims are often tedious and confusing.
Moreover, because insurance companies can request more time to review the claim, it can take far longer than the 30 days they are allotted for a decision to be reached. This can often cause more issues between the injured employee and the company.
In fact, in the most complex situations, the process can result in a back and forth between the employee, your company, the government, and the judge presiding over the case. It can take up to a year or more for the matter to be fully resolved in the most extreme cases. This means you will waste lots of time and money trying to handle just one claim. If you are in a sector where shares are common, this can become a severe issue for the company.
How America’s Back Office Can Help
Overall, if you are an employer who needs help to understand or manage workers’ compensation insurance, we are here to help. By working with America’s Back Office, you will have the added protection of working with a company that fully understands how to navigate these claims and will strive to do what’s best for the company as well as the employee. Rather than struggling to manage these claims alone, contact us today to find out how we can take over your workers’ compensation insurance and allow you to focus on what matters most: running your business.