10 Myths About Workers Compensation, Busted
If you’ve never been injured at work before, chances are you don’t know a whole lot about workers’ compensation. Chances are also good that you might have heard a thing or two about workers’ comp that aren’t quite correct.
The trouble is, those myths and misinformation can cause you some big problems if you ever do find yourself in a pickle at work.
So, to help you steer clear of trouble and make sure you know your rights, we’ve put together a guide to a few common myths about workers compensation. Let’s check them out!
1. You’re Only Covered on the Job
Most people think that workers’ compensation only covers you if you’re hurt while you’re performing your job. However, that’s not quite true.
While it’s true that you need to be at work to be covered, you don’t have to be physically performing your job duties to receive workers’ comp benefits.
For example, let’s say you slip on a wet floor at work and get injured. Depending on the circumstances, you could be eligible for compensation.
2. Filing for Workers’ Compensation Can Get You Fired
Many employees fear filing for workers’ compensation because they think their employers will fire them. This is not the case.
Workers’ compensation is a legal right, that’s designed to protect both the employee and the employer.
The idea behind it is that it provides benefits to employees who get injured while working. On the other hand, it protects the employer against false claims and legal liabilities.
It is also illegal for bosses and companies to discriminate against employees with mental or physical disabilities.
So, workers’ compensation may not protect you from possible termination when you don’t accomplish your responsibilities well. But, it does keep you safe from termination just for filing for benefits due to an on-the-job accident.
3. It Only Works When You’re on the Job Site
Another major myth circulation out there is that you have to be on your job site when an injury happens in order to receive compensation.
In fact, as long as the accident is job-related, you can claim workers’ compensation.
For example, let’s say that you’re driving a truck as part of your job and get into a motor vehicle accident. In this situation, you weren’t on the job site, but you were injured while working. So, you may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
Tip: Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of workers’ compensation claims. If you find yourself in one of these situations, make sure to know your rights.
4. The Employer Doesn’t Have Much Responsibility
Many individuals feel that if they choose to file a workers’ compensation claim, they’re largely on their own. However, the employer should also assist in the process for filing workers’ compensation claims.
Additionally, employers need to stay in close contact with the injured employee to be informed of the succeeding treatments and the need for rehabilitative therapy. This way, they can help make sure employees are properly cared for and compensated.
Employers also play a role in the employees’ capability to return to work full-time. So, their involvement in the process is critical.
5. Workers’ Compensation Only Works With Large Companies
Regardless of your company’s size, all your employees should have workers’ compensation.
Most small business owners think they can pay out of pocket when accidents happen to their employees. Even if you have the means to do so, your state can still penalize you for not issuing workers’ compensation.
Sometimes those penalties can be as simple as a fine. Other times, Massachusetts law states that employers could face jail time.
6. Workers’ Compensation Is Only For Full-Time Employees
Workers’ compensation is a requirement for all employees, whether full-time or part-time.
As long as you are part of your employer’s payroll, you should have workers’ compensation, regardless of whether you’re only working seasonal or part-time.
The one way that your employment status does affect your workers’ compensation is that it determines how much your premium is worth. That’s because the amount of time you spend on the job usually affects your risk exposure.
7. Workers’ Compensation Only Covers Traumatic Injuries
Many people think that workers’ comp is only for people who were in serious accidents. However, things like chronic stress can also make you eligible for workers’ comp.
Sure, it might be a bit more challenging to provide evidence of repetitive strain injuries or stress. But, that doesn’t mean you’re not eligible for coverage.
A few examples of more minor job-related injuries that could be covered by workers’ compensation include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lower back pain
- Tennis elbow
Make sure to look at what your plan covers and what it doesn’t. You may be surprised at the types of injuries that are eligible for compensation!
8. There’s a Short Time Limit on Your Workers’ Comp Benefits
Many workers think that if they don’t file a claim right after an accident, they’re not eligible for any kind of benefits.
This varies from state to state. In Massachussetts, however, the statute of limitations for workers’ comp claims is four years.
That means that even if your injuries happened a while ago, you may still be eligible if you file today.
9. Getting an Attorney Chews Through Your Claim Benefits
Many workers fear getting an attorney when filing a workers’ compensation claim. They think the fees they pay for their attornies can consume the benefits they will receive.
However, work injury attorneys work a little bit differently. They get payments according to a contingency fee basis.
This means that you will still get a fixed amount of your compensation when you make a successful claim.
To avoid miscommunication, just make sure to check with your attorney about the expected payout amount if your claim is successful.
10. Filing a Claim Can Harm Your Employer
Sometimes, employees aren’t worried about losing their jobs by filing a workers’ compensation claim—they’re worried about their employers getting into trouble!
What’s important to remember here is that workers’ compensation protects both parties.
Employers can benefit from this because it guarantees their compliance with state regulations. These claims also prevent companies from receiving legal penalties or employees suing them for work-related accidents.
On the other hand, it keeps employees safe by compensating them for work-related injuries and accidents. Overall, it’s a win-win situation.
The Bottom Line
As much as we’d all like to stay safe on the job, accidents happen from time to time. When they do, it’s important to know your rights as a worker so you canget the compensation you deserve.
A big part of knowing your rights means busting myths and staying in the know about local workers’ compensation laws. That way, you can keep yourself and your employer protected in the event of injury.
Were you recently injured on the job? Contact us at the Law Office of Robert E Frawley and we’ll help you get the compensation you deserve by filing a workers’ comp claim. Call (617) 523-2929 or fill out the form on our home page for a free consultaion now.