Most businesses that employ at least five or more workers are required to carry workers’ compensation. This is insurance that can protect both the injured employee and the employer itself. The worker is covered for their injury and the employer is protected against a potential personal injury lawsuit. Of course, just as with many other legal matters, there are certain misconceptions about workers’ compensation. Here are five myths, in particular, that you should know.
Myth No. 1: You Need to Be at the Job Site When the Injury Occurs
One of the biggest myths about workers’ compensation is that you need to actually be on the job site itself when the injury occurs in order to be eligible to file a claim for benefits. However, this is untrue. It doesn’t matter if you are not at the job site. If you are working at a different location and suffer an injury, you are still able to file for workers’ comp. Additionally, many people end up injured while they are driving. If their job requires them to drive and they get into a road accident, they are completely eligible for workers’ compensation.
Myth No. 2: You are Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation if You Have a Preexisting Injury
Many people believe they cannot receive workers’ compensation if they already have a preexisting injury. In reality, if your injury has been aggravated by an accident or repetitive motion you must perform at work, you can file a claim for workers’ comp benefits. Generally speaking, there are many types of injuries that can be exacerbated by accidents while on the job, including those involving the spine, hip, knee or shoulder.
Myth No. 3: You Cannot See Your Own Doctor After an On-the-Job Injury
In many cases, when a person suffers an injury while at work, their employer may recommend them to see a specific doctor for an examination and evaluation. As a result, it’s easy to become confused and believe you cannot see your own doctor for treatment after suffering an injury while on the job. However, when an employer recommends a particular doctor for an evaluation, this is just a onetime thing. Afterward, you are free to see your own doctor for not only treatment but for a second opinion if necessary. The only exception to that rule is if the employer is self-insured and has specific doctors with whom they are contracted.
Myth No. 4: Part-Time Employees Don’t Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
A big misconception about workers’ compensation eligibility is that a worker needs to be full-time. This is just a myth. It doesn’t matter whether a person is employed as a full- or part-time employee. If they are a regular worker on the company payroll and not simply an independent contractor and they suffer an injury on the job, they are eligible for workers’ compensation. As long as the business has at least five regular employees, full- or part-time, the company is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover workers who suffer an injury while working.
Myth No. 5: You Can Be Fired if You File for Workers’ Compensation
Some people have the belief that they can be fired from their job if they file for workers’ compensation after suffering an on-the-job injury. Although there are certainly times when an employer may deny a person’s claim for workers’ comp, it is also illegal to fire a person for filing. Just as you have the right to act as a whistleblower or file a complaint if you’re being harassed at work, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation and your employer cannot fire you or threaten your job in any way.
These are five of the biggest myths concerning matters about workers’ compensation insurance. If you have been injured while on the job, it is your legal right to file a claim to receive benefits.