Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance that reimburses employees for medical care resulting from a workplace-related injury, illness or disease. In order for an employee to receive this reimbursement, he or she must give up the right to sue the employer for negligence related to the injury. The purpose is to provide benefits for employees without requiring proof of fault. Each state has its own requirements and scope of benefits. Whether your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, depends on your state’s requirements.
Arkansas’ workers’ compensation requirements
Employers in Arkansas with three (3) or more employees are required by law to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. The insurance is to be purchased entirely by the employer and none of the premium should be deducted from an employee’s pay. Employers can choose to be self-insured, if they receive approval to do so from the state.
Employers who do not comply with Arkansas’ workers’ compensation laws will be subject to certain penalties. An employer is generally responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee for two years following the date of the injury.
Missouri’s workers’ compensation requirements
Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws require all employers with five (5) or more employees to maintain coverage. However, a business operating within the construction industry must maintain coverage regardless of the number of employees. Employers are required to report employee injuries to their insurance company within five days.
Typical workers’ compensation benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits usually include medical expenses, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation, if necessary. Benefits may also be offered to the worker’s family if he or she is killed on the job. It is not uncommon for an injured employee and his or her employer to not agree on how much a particular injury is worth. However, most state worker’s compensation laws provide specific limits on the amount of benefits the employee can receive for a workplace injury. Employers are not required to make benefit payments in excess of those preset limits.
Injuries Outside the Scope of Employment
Even if you are injured outside of your usual workplace, your injury may still be covered. For instance, if you were acting within the “course and scope” of your employment, meaning your actions fall within your job duties (i.e., carrying out the business you are required to perform), you are still covered under workers’ compensation.
However, if you are injured while commuting, with few exceptions, your injury will not be considered to have occurred in the course of your employment. Likewise, when you are on a break or at lunch, even if in the workplace, your injury will not likely be covered. Also, if you are engaged in activities that violate a company policy, even if on your employer’s premises, you will not be covered. For example, horse playing with co-workers in the warehouse or injuries sustained while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are injuries not covered by worker’s compensation.
If you have questions regarding workers’ compensation coverage, or any other workers’ compensation issues in Arkansas or Missouri, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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