Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that covers lost wages and pays medical expenses as a result of on-the-job injuries. There’s a good chance your employer is covered by workers’ compensation insurance since this coverage is a requirement in nearly every state.
However, states vary in how they apply this requirement, and in some states, smaller companies with few employees may be not be required to carry it. One major advantage of the workers’ compensation program is that when an employee is injured on the job, he or she can file a claim with the insurance company rather than going through the court system.
As a general rule, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you will have to go to court and file a complaint. The upside is:
- There is no cap on the amount of compensation you can receive, as there is with workers’ compensation. In fact, workers’ comp normally does not cover the full amount of an employee’s lost wages.
- In contrast, workers’ compensation claims are paid out based on fixed amounts set by law, unlike court cases.
Unfortunately, there are also downsides to going through the courts.
- Because you are suing your employer and not filing an insurance claim, it may take much longer for you to be compensated for your injuries.
- This is due to the fact that when you go to court, you have to prove that your employer was negligent in some way.
Workers’ compensation was created as a kind of trade-off, allowing workers to be compensated without having to prove negligence, and allowing employers to save on the cost of defending against lawsuits. On one hand, workers’ comp makes it much easier for employees to be compensated for their injuries. On the other hand, most workers’ comp claimants are not compensated for the full amount of their lost wages.
Some states also have funds that pay benefits to people who have been injured on the job while working for an uninsured employer. These funds may be able to help you with your medical bills as well as lost wages. There are also temporary disability programs in some states that may also pay out benefits to injured workers. In addition, the federal government has specific compensation funds for certain high-risk occupations that may also be of help.
You may need to wait months or even years to see any money from your workers’ comp lawyer New York, who can start the process and get your case handled as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to assert your legal rights, and the longer it will take to pay your bills.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice and Rosen P.C. for their insight into workers compensation practice.