Workers' Compensation Benefits: FAQ

What exactly is workers' compensation or workman's compensation?

Workers' compensation insurance, also called "workers comp," is a state-mandated program of payments required by law to be made to an employee who is injured or disabled while on the job. The federal government offers a separate workers' compensation insurance for federal employees. Every state has its own specific workers' compensation insurance program. Many times, injured employees receive worker's compensation insurance regardless of who was at fault. Notably, these insurance porgrams don't permit the employee to sue their employer for injuries.

Will Workers' Compensation Benefits Be Equal To What I Make At My Job?

Generally, no.  The majority of jurisdictions will compensate an injured employee for lost wages, due to injury, at around two-thirds of the employee’s weekly earnings.  Nearly every jurisdiction will additionally establish a minimum amount of work injury compensation that must be paid per week, regardless of the employee’s salary, and a maximum amount of compensation that cannot be surpassed during a week, regardless of the employee’s salary.

My Family Member Was Killed While Performing The Duties Of Their Job.  Am I Entitled To Workers Compensation Benefits?

Whether or not you are entitled to death benefits when a member of your family has died on the job will depend on the workers’ compensation statute in your jurisdiction.  Generally, workers’ compensation statutes allow death benefits to be paid only to “dependents”, which will be further identified in the workers’ compensation statute.  Workers’ compensation statutes will dictate who qualifies as a dependent.  The laws that govern inheritance in a jurisdiction will not affect who can collect a death benefit under a workers’ compensation statute.  In some jurisdictions, workers’ compensation statutes will allow for beneficiaries other than “dependents” to collect death benefits when an employee has died as a result of performing the duties of their employment.

What if an employee's injury ocurred after not following instructions?

Generally, if an employee has failed to follow the rules or guidelines established by their employer the injury will still be covered by workers’ compensation.  For an injury that occurs during the course of employment to not be covered by workers’ compensation, the employee’s conduct must generally be a serious and intentional violation of rules or guidelines established for the duties of employment.  The workers’ compensation statute will usually give the guidelines of what types injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation.  Generally, intentional violations of an employer’s rules or guidelines will bar recovery of workers’ compensation benefits, and unintentional violations of rules and guidelines will not.

What happens if a workers comp claim is denied?

After receiving a notice of denial from an employer or the employer's insurance company, employees may be able to file an appeal to protect your benefit rights. This must be done within a certain timeframe set by state law. 

What Is the New Hire Law?

The new hire law requires all employers, regardless of size, to report newly hired and re­hired employees to a state directory within 20 days of their hire date. The purpose of new hire reporting is locate parents who owe child support, detect welfare fraud, and identify fraudulent unemployment and workers' compensation claims.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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