It was an ideal rafting morning. The birds were active. The sun was shining and white fluffy clouds filled the sky. There was very low humidity and it was 72 degrees.
One by one, your company’s (Animas Rafting Company) employees pulled into the parking lot beside the river, ready to take on the day. Slowly, the vans pulling the rafts arrived behind them and everyone started to work to unload the rafts and the gear.
That's Zack. Actually, that's Zack calling his lawyer...
Laughter ricocheted off the river boulders. Zack and Sam began pulling the giant rafts off of the trailer in between cracking jokes about one another.
Zack was pulling his second raft off of the trailer when he was suddenly shoved to the ground with tremendous force by the raft itself. Before he could react or get up, the van’s tires were rolling right over his body. Some air-brained employee forgot to put the van’s emergency brake on.
Everyone came running at the sound of his screaming, but it was too late. The air was knocked out of him, he was bleeding and the damage was done. The van’s tires had both rolled over his body. Trying to breathe, he still felt a crushing pain in his torso.
He was rushed to the hospital with obvious cuts, abrasions, possible internal bleeding and broken bones. 28 hours later, after having surgery to stop internal bleeding and repair his arm, with 4 cracked ribs and 56 stitches, he was home recovering. (And calling a lawyer.)
Yep, Too Bad You Didn’t Yet Have Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Now That’s An Understatement!
You had just opened for business. You hadn’t gotten around to purchasing your worker’s compensation insurance. Because of this, Zack had no choice but to sue your company for his $68 thousand dollars worth of medical bills plus pain and suffering and lost wages.
Guess what happened to your Rafting Company? You bet your butt it went under. Your liability insurance wasn’t enough to cover the bills as well as the pain and suffering and lost wages for the employee. Your company went under after less than two months of business.
You failed to follow the law and you paid for it dearly.
The Real Truth About How Workers’ Compensation Came To Be
Workers’ compensation is a government mandated insurance that almost all companies have to have by law. The first documented idea of the concept actually came from PIRATES! Yes, Pirates.
Back in their day, Pirates were reimbursed with gold, based on the weight of the sacrifice they suffered while at work. For instance, if a man lost a left arm he got a certain amount of gold to compensate for his loss.
The right arm was considered more of a loss, and they would get more gold for a right arm. A simplified version of workers’ comp insurance ensued for these types of losses.
This concept carried on into the industrial revolution when large machinery caused many injuries. Companies were faced with large lawsuits that would put them under if an employee was hurt and sued and won the lawsuit. However, the poor employees rarely won.
Then the employer’s reputation would take a hit for being a butthead to their employees, not taking care of them. The system of government mandated no-fault workers’ compensation insurance became a win-win for both employer and employee.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?
Here’s the deal… Workers’ comp insurance assures that your workers get their medical care paid for and are compensated for some of their lost income.
The injury must happen while they are on the job. It also protects you from being sued by the employee for the accident. This is a HUGE plus.
It is a no-fault insurance solution. The worker gets the benefits regardless of who was at fault. It will also provide death benefits for dependents if a worker is killed on the job.
Any injuries that happen while the employee is working for you should be covered. For instance, the most deaths on the job occur when the employee is driving. It can be in a company car or their own personal car.
If they are driving FOR the job purposes, they will be covered. Driving to and from work do not qualify for benefits.
It will also cover incidents which are related to other events that may occur while they are working. (Workplace violence, a terrorist attack, natural disaster, etc)
What Exactly Do The Employees Receive After an Injury?
Well, that will vary. It depends on whether they are totally disabled or partially disabled. How much they lose in wages is usually the determining factor for being partially or fully disabled. Medical costs should be covered.
In most states, wage benefits must be paid during the duration of the disability. Others specify a maximum number of weeks. They will be paid a percentage of their normal weekly wage.
Do I Have to Have Workers’ Compensation?
Again, it depends. Are you a sole proprietor or a partnership? If so, you likely won’t have to. (Only if you have employees who aren’t owners.) You may cover yourself if you so choose. Employees paid by commission only are exempt. For most corporations and LLC’s, it’s required if you have employees.
You may also not need it if you have only a few employees. It all depends on your state and it’s laws. Usually, the threshold trigger number is three, four or five. Texas is the ONLY state where workers’ comp is totally optional.
If you have a family business, (lord help you) immediate family members may not be counted as employees. Distant family such as a brother in law would be counted as an employee.
Independent contractors? Your state may require you to cover them, even if they are not your employee.
She's gonna claim that the stairs were "slippery".
We know we sound like a broken record, but it all depends on your state! The state may require you to purchase your worker’s compensation insurance from them via a state fund.
Other states you can buy from the state fund or from private insurance providers.
Can an Employee Who Has Had an Accident Still Sue Me or My Company?
The short answer is no. But of course, there are exceptions. Workers’ comp is in place to protect both employer and employee. Regardless of fault, the employee gets treatment and is compensated.
You will benefit in not being sued by your employee. However, you MAY still be sued by an employee who was injured in certain situations and in certain states. For instance, in Florida there are exceptions. Employees may still sue in cases such as these:
An employer deliberately does something that results in an injury or death.
An employee sexually harasses another employee
The employer has violated laws regarding housing and transport of migrant workers.
Get Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Quote
You can easily get your cheap workers’ compensation quote by going to Hiscox, where you fill out one form and you will get free coverage quotes.
When you receive your cheap worker’s comp insurance quote you are under no obligation to make a purchase.
So get out there! Feel free to shop around and see who has the coverage you need at a price you can live with.
Workers’ comp quotes online are so easy these days we would not recommend any other way to find your coverage!