Workers’ compensation (or workers’ comp) is a type of insurance that covers employees who sustain injuries or contract an illness while on the job. It covers the cost of the employee’s medical bills and pays the wages from lost work time. The laws that govern workers’ compensation are determined by the statutes in different states. For instance, workers’ compensation in Nassau County is governed by New York (NY) state laws. These laws tend to vary slightly from state to state. These variations, coupled with the spread of misinformation have created room for many misconceptions about workers’ compensation. Here are 5 myths about workers’ compensation and the truths about them.
The employee must be able to prove that the employer was at fault.
According to the New York state laws, workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” insurance program. This means that an employee is entitled to compensation for any work-related injury without having to prove that the employer is responsible. Even if the worker is responsible for the accident, if it occurred in the course of work, the workers’ compensation will pay for the claim. The only exceptions to this rule are if the injury was self-inflicted or the employee was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the accident occurred. Also, an injured employee can file a bad faith claim if the employer or insurance company refuses to pay the workers’ comp benefits without sufficient cause.
Desk workers don’t need workers’ compensation.
Unlike jobs with dangerous working conditions such as construction work, desk jobs are generally considered safe as it does not involve a lot of movement. However, studies have shown that the lack of mobility that comes with desk jobs, especially having to sit for long hours, can cause a lot of damage to an employee’s body. Injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome incurred from typing for long hours and back and neck pain are common among desk workers. Other injuries can also result from tripping over wires or slipping on wet floors. All these make it necessary for desk job workers to be provided with workers’ compensation.
Small businesses don’t need to provide workers’ compensation insurance.
All businesses in the state of New York must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees regardless of the size of the business. Small businesses are not exempted from this law. Even if the business only has one employee, the employer must provide insurance for the employee just like the employer of 400 employees. This includes part-time workers.
Workers’ compensation does not cover pre-existing injuries.
While certain injuries may not initially occur during work, they may be aggravated by a work-related accident or repetitive strain. In such cases, the employee is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Examples of pre-existing health conditions that can be aggravated by work are wrist injuries, spinal problems, shoulder pain, etc.
Only injuries that occurred at the workplace qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
If an employee was performing a task related to their job at the time of the accident, the incident will be covered by workers’ comp. For example, an employee that gets involved in an accident while working at a client’s house off-site or while driving the company’s car to visit a client is entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Injuries that occur while traveling to and from work are not covered by workers’ compensation as they are not work-related. Accidents at company-sponsored events may also be covered, especially if the employee reasonably believed that attendance was compulsory.
It is important to seek the guidance of a competent and reliable commercial insurance agent when searching for the best policy that fits your business and budget. At Northeastern Group, we work with businesses in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida to provide workers’ compensation for businesses. Contact us today to get started on building a tailored plan for your business.
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