Medical and wage loss coverage for employees who become injured or ill at work
Worker's Compensation for Legal Practices
In most states, employers are deemed responsible for their employees’ physical well-being while they are at work.
Workers’ Compensation provides benefits if an employee has a work-related injury or illness. For example, an associate injures his back while lifting a chair, gets hurt in a car accident while picking up lunch for the staff, or contracts a serious illness from a client.
In each of these cases, workers’ compensation would pay your employee’s medical bills and a percentage of their lost wages, typically two-thirds of their pre-disability income.
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, the employee must be able to prove the injury or illness is connected to work. According to OSHA, the claim is work related if exposure to the work environment caused or contributed to the injury or illness.
- Injuries do not have to be sudden and accidental. They could be a result of repetitive strain that results in carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and back pain.
- Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. It does not matter if the workers’ actions contributed to the injury. If it happened at work, they are covered. Exceptions include self-inflicted injuries, committing a crime, being intoxicated/high or violating company policy.
- While the medical profession increasingly recognizes the connection between stress and a wide range of illnesses, it may be difficult to get workers’ compensation benefits for illnesses caused by on-the-job-stress.
Every U.S. state has its own workers’ compensation insurance program. Benefits vary by state
. In general, workers’ compensation provides the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Death benefits for workers killed on the job
- Compensation for permanent impairment
Check with your Attorneys Advantage advisor to learn the benefits in your state.
- Most employees are covered, though states commonly exclude independent contractors and volunteers
- In the case of a sole proprietorship or partnership, the owner(s) are not considered an employee, and therefore not covered
- If the practice is incorporated, the owner is an employee of the corporation and may be included in coverage
Speak to an Attorneys Advantage advisor to become familiar with the laws in your state.
Because workers’ compensation assists the employee with the costs of their injury or illness there is generally no reason to sue the employer. However, if an employer’s reckless or intentional action caused an employees injury, they do have the right to sue.
If an employee chooses to sue their employer, they waive their rights to workers’ compensation benefits. If successful in their suit, the court may award them payment for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.