What Does Workers' Comp Cover?

Workers' compensation provides benefits if you are hurt in an accident at work.

Workers' compensation provides benefits if you are hurt in an accident at work.

As you go about your daily job activities, worrying about whether you'll be compensated if your are in an accident is the last thing you want to occupy your mind. You certainly don’t want to bother with lawsuits when you are not feeling well and need medical attention. Lawsuits can be tremendously expensive and time-consuming and can result in heavy financial liabilities for employees and employers. Worker’s compensation coverage helps to cushion employees and employers from these concerns.


Worker’s compensation coverage provides benefit payments when you suffer an injury, illness, death or loss of a body part as a result of a workplace accident. It is part of the workers’ compensation system of United States. Most employers in the country must provide this coverage, although the extent of the coverage varies depending on the state. Each state’s workers’ compensation system works according to its own statutes. The federal government has its own workers’ compensation law and system.

Your Coverage

Worker’s compensation covers payment of your medical bills and medical treatment, which can include visits to your doctor, hospitalization prescription drugs and physical therapy. You can also get reimbursements for travel to and from these visits. Along with wage replacement benefits, you also can get vocational rehabilitation if you are permanently disabled. Vocational rehabilitation can help you find and keep a suitable job. If you can’t perform your duties because of your disability or if you die, your dependents can get ongoing payments equal to a portion of your monthly income. Workers compensation coverage also includes burial and funeral expenses. As an employee, you get benefits quickly without the need to sue.

Benefit Payments

Benefit payments are typically two-thirds of your income, but the money you get varies and depends on the extent and permanence of your injury, and your employment status under your state’s law. As long as the accident happens as a result of your employment, fault or negligence is irrelevant. This means you can still receive benefits even if you caused the accident. All legitimate claims your employer submits to the insurer must be paid, and there is no limit to your benefits. However, you will not receive benefits if it is proven that you were under the influence of drugs or if your injuries were self-inflicted. You also won't receive benefits if your injuries are felony related or are a result of violation of company’s policies.

Employers' Liability

Essentially the workers' compensation coverage totally indemnifies the employer from incurring legal liabilities arising out of claimant’s action in court seeking damages. When you accept financial and medical benefits from your employer, you forfeit your right to sue. Your employer avoids lawsuits and the uncertainty of the extent of its obligation. This is because the system establishes limits through insurance tools that spread the cost over a long period and make them predictable. Under various states’ laws, it is incumbent on businesses to provide cover to their employees. Failing to do so can result in a rightful court action by employees.

About the Author

A technical business analyst since 1995, Julie Davoren began her writing career in 2009. She writes technical articles and travel articles for various websites. Davoren studied accounting at Point Park University and computer information systems at the University of Phoenix.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images