7 Misconceptions About Workers' Comp Insurance

misconceptions workers' compensation insurance

Workers' compensation provides crucial benefits for those hurt on the job, which is an unfortunately common occurrence. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.7 million job- related illnesses and injuries reported by private employers in 2023. Over 887,000 of these cases involved time away from work. The National Academy of Social Insurance states that over $100 billion in workers' comp benefits are paid annually

But despite how often employees get injured and file claims, there are still many misconceptions surrounding workers' comp insurance and the claims process. Clearing up the most common myths can empower employees and ensure they get the full benefits they deserve if an accident happens at work in 2024. 

You Must Be Completely Disabled To Receive Benefits 

One of the biggest misconceptions about workers' comp is that you have to be completely unable to work in order to receive benefits. However, this is not true. Workers' comp provides both partial and total disability benefits. So, even if you can still work part-time or in a reduced capacity, you may still qualify for wage loss benefits to make up for the income you have lost. 

It Is Only For Physical Injuries 

While workers' comp is most commonly associated with physical injuries, it also covers occupational illnesses and diseases. So, if you develop a repetitive stress injury, respiratory illness, or any health condition caused by hazards in your workplace, it should be covered. Mental health conditions like PTSD may also qualify if they are linked to a workplace trauma—3 in 5 Americans will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. 

Pre-Existing Conditions Aren't Covered 

There is a myth that workers' comp won't cover pre-existing health conditions that are aggravated by a workplace accident or injury. But in most cases, pre-existing conditions are covered if the workplace incident is determined to be the prevailing cause of injury or disability. An experienced attorney can help prove work causation. 

You Can Be Fired For Filing A Claim

Workers' comp retaliation is illegal, even though some employers may try to discourage reporting. There can be serious consequences for employers who fire, demote, deny raises, or otherwise retaliate against someone for filing a claim. If you experience retaliation, call a workers compensation lawyer immediately. 

The Process Is Quick And Easy 

Unfortunately, the workers' comp system is complex, bureaucratic, and can progress slowly. It may take weeks to get approved treatment, months to get benefits, and years to reach maximum medical improvement. Having legal guidance from the start helps the process go as smoothly as possible. Don't try to navigate it alone. 

You Must Report Injuries Right Away 

While it is ideal to report injuries as soon as possible, there is no universal time limit for reporting a claim. Deadlines vary by state, from a few weeks or months to up to two years. Reporting late can make your claim harder to prove, but an attorney can still help file and build your case. Don't assume you are out of luck if time has passed. 

Your Employer Handles Everything 

Some think that employers take full responsibility for the workers' comp claims process. But while they do select the insurance provider, you must advocate for yourself. This includes filing a claim, going to independent doctors' appointments, submitting evidence, appealing denied claims, and more. An attorney protects your rights. 

Get Legal Help 

As shown above, workers' comp law contains many nuances and pitfalls for the unrepresented. An experienced attorney well-versed in this area can protect your rights, build the strongest argument for your claim, and help you obtain all the benefits you are entitled to. Don't leave your financial recovery or medical care to chance.

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