Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” form of insurance. That means that, with few exceptions, a worker’s injuries are covered regardless of who caused the accident that led to them. Still, employers have a specific procedure they must follow when an employee’s injury is reported to them. If an employer fails to follow the workplace injury procedure, they may be fined.
What are an employer’s responsibilities?
Employer’s responsibilities can be divided into 3 segments:
BEFORE an injury occurs:
Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for the employees, to prevent workplace accidents. Each work environment varies, for example, there will be different safety protocols in an office versus a laboratory or construction site. Employers must adhere to local, state, and federal safety guidelines and those who fail to meet these obligations may face penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when an injury occurs. Employers should also make sure that their workers’ compensation insurance is current.
When an injury occurs, employers’ workplace injury procedure requires them to:
- Report the injury to the Workers’ Compensation Board within 10 days of the injury if the worker needs medical treatment beyond first aid and misses at least one day of work;
- Report any changes in the worker’s pay or work status, due to the injury;
- Report the worker’s salary to determine their Average Weekly Wage; and
- Record the injury and keep that record on file for 5 years.
AFTER an injury occurs:
Employers are required to provide employees with alternate duties while they recover.
What are employers NOT allowed to do?
In addition to following the correct workplace injury procedure, employers are not allowed to:
- Prevent employees from filing a worker’s compensation claim;
- Ask employees to pay for their own worker’s compensation coverage;
- Discriminate against workers who file or plan to file claims;
- Tell workers which healthcare provider they may go to unless they participate in a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) program;
- Discuss a worker’s injury with their doctor; or
- Ask whether a potential hire has outstanding worker’s compensation claims.
Is an employer responsible for its employees’ actions?
In some circumstances, an employer is responsible for its employee’s actions even if the employee’s actions were in violation of a policy.
For example, let’s say an employee stacks heavy boxes on a high shelf, in violation of company policy. If one of those boxes falls and hits a customer, the company is responsible for the customer’s injuries. If a box hits another employee, the company is also responsible.
When to talk to a lawyer for worker’s compensation?
Even when employers follow a correct work accident procedure, an attorney can still help you to obtain all the benefits available to you. It’s usually best to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney immediately after an injury occurs.
If you’ve been injured at work, the attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik will provide a free consultation to discuss the workers’ compensation process, ensure you know your rights, and assist you in filing a claim.