Workers’ Compensation 101

2 workers one with an injured knee and a hardhat

Workers’ compensation laws are intended to offer a respite for injured workers by paying them money when they are unable to work due to workplace injuries, providing medical treatment and paying them money for permanent disability resulting from on-the-job injuries.

“Workplace injuries” can include chronic conditions and illnesses such as carpal tunnel syndrome and lung diseases. In certain circumstances, mental injuries are also covered by the law.  However, not all on-the-job related injuries are covered.  For example, workers who are injured while doing something illegal or violating company policy may not be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

In this week’s post we want to provide a bit of background on what workers’ compensation laws cover and when and how to obtain coverage for your workforce.

Workers’ Compensation Requirements

In general, all businesses with employees must obtain workers’ compensation insurance. However, Missouri does not require businesses with fewer than five employees to maintain workers’ compensation insurance unless the employer falls within a certain class such as the construction industry, in which case insurance is required if there is even one employee.  And, Kansas does not require an employer to carry worker’s compensation insurance if its annual payroll is less than $20,000.00.

Even if the law in your state does not require your business to have workers’ compensation insurance, you may still elect to purchase it to cover accidents and injuries that happen to you as the business owner, any co-owners and employees on the job.

In Missouri and Kansas, businesses may purchase an insurance package from a private insurer.

All states set their own regulations, and each state’s caps on the amount of money employees can receive differ.  Benefits schedules and other useful information can be found on the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation website.

Need More Help?

This post should give you a good overview about the essentials of workers’ compensation insurance. However, to really figure out what’s best for you and your business, and what your legal obligations are, we recommend that you speak with a workers’ compensation attorney to learn about your unique situation. A skilled attorney can discuss the law as it pertains to your situation in plain English, help you file an application or appeal, and set your mind at ease.

If you would like to speak to a Missouri or Kansas employment law attorney, please take a look at the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Krigel & Krigel!

Image: Thinkstock/pojoslaw
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.

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