Workers Compensation: Key Questions

Posted on: 17 February 2023

The worker's compensation system ensures that workers who are injured or become sick on the job are not left without any income when they can't work. Many employees who need to make use of the system at some point probably have only a vague idea of how it works. This article focuses on some key questions related to the workers compensation program.

How Does Workers Compensation Insurance Operate? 

Typically, a business will contract with a private insurer for workers compensation insurance and pay premiums to that private company. When a worker files a claim and the claim is approved, the worker will receive their benefits from the insurance company.

Many states, however, allow businesses to "self-insure". When an employer self-ensures, they do not purchase workers compensation insurance from the private insurer but pay workers who are injured on the job benefits out of their own funds. This strategy has the advantage of avoiding paying high premiums to an insurer, but the employer could be in a difficult financial situation if there are numerous workers compensation claims in a short period of time. A state regulatory board will need to approve a company request to self-insure.

What is a Monopolistic State?

Not all states allow employers to purchase workers compensation insurance on the private market. A few states, require employers to purchase workers compensation insurance from government entities. For example, the state of Washington requires employers to obtain coverage through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries or self-insure. The other monopolistic states are North Dakota, Wyoming, and Ohio. North Dakota allows employers to self-insure, while Ohio and Wyoming do not.

What Workers Are Not Covered by Workers Compensation?

Many states exclude domestic workers, agricultural workers, taxi drivers, and real estate agents from the workers compensation system. The exact list of workers who are not covered will depend on the laws of your state of residence, so check the relevant statutes.

Should You Hire an Attorney?

The workers compensation system is complex and you might need a workers compensation attorney to help you navigate the process when you file a claim. This is especially true if the employer denies your claim because you have a pre-existing condition or the employer denies that your injury or illness is work-related. Also, if the benefits you are offered do not cover all of your medical bills and lost income you need to consult an experienced attorney.

Consult a workers compensation lawyer to learn more. 


Always Know Your Renter's Rights

After my mother suffered a fall on the icy steps of her apartment building, I learned a lot about renter's rights, and I want to share my story and tips to help others. My mother was extremely afraid to pursue action against the apartment owners who were at fault for her fall due to fear she would be kicked out of her apartment. I found out that there are state laws that protect apartment renters from retaliation for asserting their rights as renters. However, it is very important to have any attorney on your side when you pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an apartment owner; the owner is less likely to even try to illegally evict you if they know you have an attorney already on your side. I hope you can learn a lot from my story and the other tips I share on this blog!