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5 Things Workers Compensation Covers, and Doesn’t!

5 Things Workers Compensation Covers, and Doesn’t!

 

In part 1 of our Workers Compensation series, we touched on what exactly Workers Comp is, how it is sourced and why its needed. Today we look at 5 things that Workers Comp can cover….and a few things that it doesn’t exactly cover!

So what exactly can Workers’ Comp do? How can it protect your business as well as your employees? Let’s take a look at five important benefits this policy offers.

1. Medical Costs to Treat Immediate Injuries and Illnesses

A business should take every feasible measure to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, but sometimes, all the safety training in the world won’t prevent a sudden accident.

When an employee is injured and needs medical attention, the employer can be (and usually is) responsible for covering the cost. Workers’ Comp steps in to pay for those emergency room visits, ambulance rides, and other medical bills.

2. Missed Wages

So what happens when your employee has an occupational accident and can’t work for a while? Employment laws require you to pay for at least a portion of their missed wages while they recover. This can mean weeks of pay on top of finding, training, and paying for a temporary replacement worker.  All told, the lost work can be a huge expense. Workers Comp covers these missed wages and reduce your financial burden.

3. Ongoing Care

Sometimes, a work injury or illness is so severe that the employee needs ongoing care, such as surgery, rehabilitation, or appointments with specialists. Even if that employee never returns to work, your business may be responsible for the cost of their care. In the eyes of the law, it was your duty to ensure a safe working environment.

Workers Comp policies offer this exact ongoing coverage in the unfortunate instance of an employee requiring ongoing treatment.

4. Funeral Costs and Death Benefits

If a work tragedy ends with an employee’s death, Workers Comp Insurance can provide funds for funeral expenses, allowing you, your staff, and the employee’s family to grieve without stressing about the service.

Policies even provide coverage for death benefits, such as support payments to the employee’s dependants.  Offering these benefits can help you keep quality workers if you operate in a high-risk industry.

5. Legal Costs if an Employee Sues You Over the Injury

If an employee is hurt at work and thinks your business is to blame, you may face a lawsuit soon after the injury.  Unfortunately, the cost of a lawsuit can far exceed medical bills and treatment costs, depending on how the court rules.

Luckily, your Workers Comp policy has Common Law Liability up to $50million, so your insurance company can help you pay for attorney fees, court costs, and judgements or settlements.

And What Doesn’t Workers Compensation Provide for?

1. Wages for a Replacement Employee

When a valuable employee is the victim of a workplace accident, they might be off of work for a while. A hurt back is enough to keep a person home for a few days, and you might manage without the employee for that time. But severe injuries can take months to recover from, and the world doesn’t stop turning for an injured employee.

In the interim, you may need to hire a temporary replacement worker to keep your business moving. Keep in mind, though, that Workers’ Comp doesn’t cover the replacement employee’s wages. That responsibility is on you.

2. Funds to Improve Workplace Safety

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make a safe work environment for your employees, and that means you must mitigate dangerous conditions before they lead to injuries. For example, you may need to invest in safety equipment and training to ensure your employees have the gear and skills to do their work safely.

Even if an employee is injured in an accident, Workers Comp doesn’t provide funds for you to improve workplace safety. It’s best to take care of safety issues proactively to avoid a claim from the outset.

3. OSHA Penalties

You’re responsible for maintaining workplace safety, but Occ Health and Safety is there to make sure you’re following through on that responsibility.  Failure to follow safety standards can result in hefty penalties if your business is inspected by WorkCover or OHS inspectors.  Workers Comp doesn’t offer any coverage for paying those fines, even if an OSHA violation caused the employee injury.

4. Third-Party Damages

In especially unfortunate circumstances, a third party, such as a customer, client, or passerby, could get caught in the same accident that injures your employee. Maybe an out-of-control backhoe swings its shovel into a random car. Maybe a heavy box falls on a customer when the employee carrying it slips on a puddle.

In these instances, Workers Comp only covers the costs associated with your employee’s injuries. The good news though is that your Business Public Liability policy will step in and cover the third party’s injuries.  Public Liability can cover their medical bills and pay for your legal expenses if they try to sue you over the injury.

5. Get-Well-Soon Cards

Ah…no

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Workers Compensation Insurance WA

Nearly every business faces at least some risk of on the job accidents, whether it be carpal tunnel injuries, stress related incidents, a fall down the stairs or equipment malfunctions that cause loss of limb or even death.

If one of your employees is hurt while working for your business, you could be held responsible for paying related medical expenses as well as the wages he or she would have earned during his or her recovery period.

Workers Compensation laws are regulated at each state level in Australia, and in Western Australia we are regulated by WorkCover – The WA State Government Workers Compensation Regulator and Authority.

Workers Compensation insurance is obtained through brokers – who source coverage through 6 Workers Comp Insurers – who are all regulated by WorkCover.  Every business is required to have Workers Compensation insurance.

Workers Compensation Insurance Explained

Commonly referred to as “workers comp”, Workers Compensation Insurance in WA is designed to protect your business by paying the costs associated with workplace illness and injury. In most cases, those include medical bills and lost wages — that is, the wages an injured employee would have earned had he or she been able to work during his or her recovery period.

Without insurance in place, those costs can be prohibitive: in addition to compensating the injured employee, a business often has to pay wages to a replacement employee to perform the duties the injured person is no longer able to carry out.

Workers Compensation Insurance WA also includes Employer’s Liability Insurance, which helps pay for your legal costs in the event that you have to defend yourself in court against an employee’s claim of illness or injury.

Those costs can be very large – even if the court finds that your business is not responsible for the illness or injury in question, you will have to pay for your legal defense, which might include attorneys’ fees, court costs, docket costs, witness fees, and more.

How Statewide Makes Buying Workers’ Compensation Insurance Easier

  1. Secure the Coverage You Need Fast.
  2. Choose from all Major Insurers.
  3. Get our Expert Opinion.
  4. Receive a Tailored Quote.
  5. Discounts Available.

Business Tips

  • Consider Saving Money By Excluding Working Directors from Coverage.

In Western Australia it is not mandatory for Working Directors to include themselves in the cover, and by not including cover/wages, this can offer save tremendous amounts.

  • Conduct regular safety training for employees.

The best way to avoid a claim is to avoid injuries in the first place. Be sure to instruct employees in the proper use of all equipment and materials, as well as in proper lifting and other injury-prevention techniques.

  • Provide appropriate safety or ergonomic gear.

Whether your business involves keyboard time or heavy lifting, the right equipment can help prevent injury. Invest in appropriate safety or ergonomic equipment, and instruct employees in proper and consistent use.

  • Keep a clean and safe workplace.

Regularly review your workplace for hazards, such as slippery floors or objects that could fall or be tripped over. Ensure that necessary repairs are made quickly and that warning signs and / or barriers are used to restrict access to high-risk areas.

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