If you are fortunate enough to be the owner of your own business, you most likely have your own employees as well, and it is your responsibility to watch over them, protect them, and look out for them if you must; they are partly your responsibility. Everyone tries their best to make everything go according to plan, of course, with no hiccups and certainly no serious interruptions like accidents and injuries in the workplace. However, life rarely goes completely according to plan. Sometimes someone just slips on the wet floor, falls off a ladder, or trips over something and falls onto their face. These things just happen sometimes, and that is why they are accidents. Then maybe someone gets injured, needs medical treatment, leaves, and so on, and that is where workers’ compensation comes in, to cover the loss of work and profit due to the accident. Also, that is what today’s little article is all about: workers' compensation, how to get it, what it even is, and so on. 

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Before we get into how to get it, we have to lock down what workers’ compensation even is, what it is all about and the basics. Put simply, workers’ compensation insurance provides compensation for medical care and lost wages for people who have been hurt due to their jobs and is paid by the employer and not the employees. This claim is paid if the insurance company or employer confirms that the accident or injury is work-related, but if they reject the claim, a workers’ compensation judge steps in and decides on the case. In addition to paying for rehabilitation and injuries, workers’ compensation may compensate a family if a tragic work-related death has occurred. 

Determine the Requirements

First of all, you are going to want to determine your state’s workers’ compensation requirements, and typically you have two options open to you; through a private insurance company or a state fund. Your workman’s comp quotes can be narrowed down to a state fund, though, if you are located in Ohio, North Dakota, Wyoming, Washington, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as these territories basically operate a monopolistic state fund where business owners are required to buy their workers’ comp coverage through said state fund. Otherwise, you should be fine to go with a private insurance company of your choice as well. 

What Sort of Coverage?

Many factors impact the sort of coverage you need, including what kind of business you run, how many employees you employ, their risk exposure, and your business’s history of previous workplace accidents. For example, businesses that are in high-risk industries, like construction or landscaping, generally pay higher premiums and require more coverage than businesses where all the employees just sit in bank offices all day. Depending on the requirements in your state, as a business owner or sole proprietor, you may not need to buy coverage for yourself. Now, this strategy may save you some money at the moment, but it might put you at risk in the long run, and you might end up having to pay for lost wages or medical bills out of your own pocket. 

Get Multiple Quotes

The average cost of workers’ comp insurance varies from state to state but can range from 70 cents to $2.25 a month per $100 of payroll, and before you purchase anything, make sure you compare quotes from multiple, different companies to find one that suits you both practically and financially. Multiple factors can affect how much you end up paying, including the type of work, like construction or office work, for example, the annual payroll, and the claims history, where a low number of previous claims can work in your favor to lower the workers’ comp cost. As with anything else, do some research into what firms and what sorts of coverage suit you best, ask around and check whether you are eligible for a discount or something of the sort.

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How to Report a Claim

As soon as the accident occurs, make sure you report the injuries to the insurer as soon as possible, even if they seem barely worth mentioning or the employee does not press the matter because they are embarrassed or want to shrug it off or whatever. Even seemingly minor injuries, like a bee sting, can turn into something more serious, like a violent allergic reaction or an infection, so it is important that you make a timely report of the incident to the insurance carrier so that they can get involved if need be. Once the claim has been reported, they will handle the process, which lets you get back to focusing on running your business. All you do during the whole situation is provide information about the employee, the accident, the injuries that were incurred, and so on. 

Workplace Safety

Of course, the best outcome for all concerned is if no accident happens at all. Again, they do happen sometimes, and that is why they are accidents after all, but you can at least significantly lower the risk of them happening if you practice proper workplace safety. Examples of this include putting down signs when the floor is wet so people walking by do not slip and fall, or making sure the space is well-lit and there are no random tripping hazards on the floor that unsuspecting workers may trip and fall over. Also, make sure your workers get proper training and safety equipment before they are even allowed in the vicinity of dangerous equipment and machines, to name but a few. These are not exactly insider secrets, but very common-sense precautions anyone knows to take, and prevention is better than a cure after all. 

Owning a business and having your own employees is a big responsibility, and life is life. Sometimes an accident happens and someone gets injured or hurt somehow. So, to avoid paying out of your own pocket for bills and lost wages, getting the right workers’ compensation insurance is key.