Workers’ Compensation & Employer Liability: Differences You Must Know

Many businesses and many employees get confused about the differences between Worker’s Compensation Insurance and Employers’ Liability Insurance.  For a business, it’s important to not only know the difference between these two policies but also understand that they go hand-in-hand and are sold together to effectively protect the business and its employees.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance:

If an employee is injured on the job or if the employee becomes ill from a work-related illness, they will need Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This will require their insurance company to compensate those who are injured or stricken ill based on the insurance policy that they have in place at the time of the incident. The employee, however, must provide proof that the injury occurred while performing job-related duties, but it is not necessary for them to prove that the employer was at fault in any way due to negligence.

There are five types of Workers’ Compensation benefits:

–  Medical Care
–  Temporary disability benefits
–  Permanent disability benefits
–  Vocational rehabilitation services
–  Death Benefits

Pain and suffering is not covered with this insurance.

Employers’ Liability Insurance:

This insurance is a protection for a business against lawsuits due to employment-related injuries or illnesses. A lawsuit can be filed by an employee, family members, or third parties.  Employers’ liability insurance is additional coverage above what is covered in Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

A workers’ compensation claim does not require a proof of negligence, but employer liability claims do.  The employee is required to prove that the injury they suffered was caused in some way due to negligence from their employer.  This can be as simple as not providing protective eyewear or earplugs in work environments where those safety devices might have prevented loss of sight or hearing.

There are four elements to this proof:

–  The employer has a duty by law to protect their employees from undue harm or injury.
–  The employer must have committed some action or omission of action that did not prevent the harm or the injury.
–  The employee was injured as a result directly due to the employer’s failure to prevent the harm or injury.
–  There must be evidence that the injured employee suffered some sort of provable damages that resulted from the accident.  This could be medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other problems and issues resulting from negligence.

Both Employer Liability and Workers’ Compensation Insurance offer protection of the assets for a business and protection for employees. For additional questions regarding workers’ compensation laws in Connecticut, click here. 

Statute of Limitations: Filing a Workers Compensation Claim in CT

If you live and work in the state of Connecticut, you probably know that you are entitled to file for workers’ compensation if you become ill or injured while on the job and are no longer able to work. The workers’ compensation system in Connecticut provides wage replacement benefits and medical treatment to workers to ensure that they and their families are supported even if their job resulted in their injury or illness. However, what you may not know is that the time you have to file a claim is limited and that in fact, a term called the “Statute of Limitations” applies in workers’ compensation cases.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

Broadly defined, the Statute of Limitations is the time period in which you can file a claim with the state of Connecticut presenting your case for workers’ compensation benefits. After the statute expires, you can no longer request benefits because too much time has passed in between the original illness or injury and the time that you are filing the request. The statute exists to ensure that all employees are presenting fair and accurate information as to their workers’ compensation needs. In Connecticut, the Statute of Limitations is currently one year for injuries and three years for illnesses; the time begins when the injury is first sustained or when the first symptom of the illness is felt.

What should I do to file a claim?

There are several steps you must follow when filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. As long as you are within the time limits described above, you can follow this process, but it is recommended that you complete the paperwork as soon as possible to avoid issues later on. To request benefits, simply file a 30C Form with the Workers` Compensation Commission, and specifically in the District Office that corresponds to the area of the state where you live. You should concurrently file a form with your employer. After filing, wait for the commission to get back to you on the status of your benefits. If you are denied, you are entitled to an appeal that you can file with the Workers’ Compensation Commission Review Board as soon as you receive your rejection letter.

For further information on how to file a Workers’ Compensation claim in the event that you are injured on the job, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency by calling (860) 886-1961 or by clicking here.

7 Steps to Keep a Safe Workplace and Avoid Injuries

As a business owner, you have a legal and moral responsibility to provide as much of a hazard-free and safe workplace for your employees as possible. Many businesses, however, do not do everything in their power to keep their workplaces safe. Managers sometimes neglect to enforce various safety regulations or cut a few corners to save time and/or money. Even if precautions are put in place, many places of work don’t properly train their employees in how to avoid danger or they don’t provide the necessary follow-up to ensure their employees remain alert, vigilant, and aware.  Because of this, employees in these businesses are more at risk for various dangers and are unsure of what to do in such an emergency.

It must be a primary concern, as an employer,  to do everything possible to put safety measures in place and train your employees accordingly and regularly.  If you are unsure of how to proceed, use the following guide to help you in making your workplace a more safe and secure area for your employees.

1. Establish a Safety-Conscious Attitude

The most important thing you can do to ensure the safety of your employees is to initiate a climate of safety in your workplace.  If you and your employees are committed to safety it will have a tremendous effect on the environment.  This means putting as much thought and effort into your safety as you would any other aspect of your business.  By changing the climate of your business, you can have a real effect on workplace safety throughout your entire staff.

2.  Identify Your Workplace Hazards

The next step is to identify what areas of your business environment and operations are potentially the most hazardous.  Review past injury records, survey employees, and consult with a safety expert who is trained to find problem areas that the rest of us might otherwise overlook.  Also, make sure you are well-versed in the various OSHA regulations that pertain to your situation.

3. Create a Plan for Each Potential Hazard

Now that you have identified equipment, processes, or locations where accidents are more likely to occur, it is time to create a plan of action. Take the following questions into consideration when writing out your safety plan:

  • – What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) do employees need to perform their duties safely?
  • – What actions (or non-actions) can put employees at risk in each situation?
  • – What do they need to know?
  • – What should they avoid?
  • – What steps should they take if they are involved in an accident?

4.  Involve Your Employees in the Planning of a Safe Workplace

As previously mentioned regarding surveying employees, as you start to create your plans, make sure to get employee input.  Since they are the ones most in harm’s way, they definitely have a stake in the safety of the workplace.  In addition, they might also be aware of potential hazards, or ways to avoid those hazards, that you would not know since they are around those dangerous areas each and every day.

5.  Provide Adequate Employee Training

Once your plans are in place, train your employees.  This means educating each employee about all of the dangers they might come into contact with each day, as well as what they should do in the event of an accident. This also means reinforcing this training with regular drills to deal with certain situations, such as environmental concerns or employee injury. Many workplaces even require staff members to become certified in first aid and CPR. If your business falls into this category, ensure that all employees are up-to-date with all necessary certifications. The more they know and are capable of responding to, the safer everyone will be.

6.  Make Sure New Hires Are IMMEDIATELY Trained for Their Jobs

One of the biggest concerns for workplace safety is with new and inexperienced hires.  It is at this time that someone is most vulnerable to accidents.  Make sure new employees are exceptionally trained in all workplace safety protocols BEFORE they begin their regular work duties.

7.  Always Look for Ways to Improve the System

Finally, always be on the lookout for ways to improve your safety.  Just because something is working does not mean it can’t be improved and made even safer.  As you and your employees learn more, offer incentives to encourage them to find new ways to keep your business hazard-free.  A little investment now can have huge dividends in the future!

Keeping a safe workplace is no joke.  As a business owner, you need to do everything in your power to keep your employees safe not only from an ethical standpoint but to also avoid a Workers Compensation claim.  By following these simple guidelines, you will have gone a long way to keeping everyone free from danger and your business free from liability suits.

Regardless if you take all of the necessary precautionary measures, accidents are always a possibility in the workplace. If you are a business owner, contact Waitte’s Insurance Agency by  calling (860) 886-1961 to review your current Worker’s Compensation policy. Make sure you are sufficiently covered in the event of a worst case scenario.

Why Connecticut Employers Need Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation is a type of insurance that is a MUST for employers to purchase in order to protect themselves and their employees in the event of an on-the-job accident. The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) outlines the responsibilities of Connecticut employers to provide this protection for their employees. You cannot operate a business in Connecticut without a workers’ compensation plan of some sort. But why do you need it? And what level of protection must you provide?

What Connecticut Employers Responsible For:

Workers’ compensation covers the medical care and the time off that is required for an injury that an employee incurs while at work or an illness that was the result of an insufficient working environment. This can include being exposed to a toxic substance or inadequate ventilation in the workplace that could make an employee ill and unable to continue working. A worker’s compensation policy can be obtained through an insurance company or employers can self-insure by filing their intention to do so with the WCA Commission.

A printed notice of your workers’ compensation coverage must be posted in every area that your employees work. Injury claims must also be submitted within a week to the Commission, and injury payouts made within three weeks of the incident. The Commission with then review all claims that have been submitted.

An Injury Has Occurred at My Job Site… What Happens Next?

Employers are responsible to pay for the medical care, rehabilitation and sick time required of their injured or ill employees. Out of pocket, this cost could be an exorbitant amount that could possibly even compromise the business as a whole, depending on the severity of the condition. Workers’ compensation provides a safety net that employers pay into each month, and will pay out in the event of an employee illness/injury.

There is the possibility that your employee may wish to work throughout their illness or injury, but can no longer fulfill the work requirements of the position they had when they got injured. At this point, you must continue the willing employee’s employment, but provide them with a position suitable to the work that they can perform.

For Connecticut employers, workers’ compensation is non-negotiable. It is a legal obligation for business owners to have a plan in place to protect any and all employees on their payroll.

Without a policy in place, not only are you in violation of state laws on the matter, you are also setting yourself up for financial hardship, a compromised reputation, or possibly even a lawsuit. Save yourself a headache, and cover company with a comprehensive workers’ compensation policy.

Is your business in need of coverage for you and your employees? We can provide you with a comprehensive FREE rate quote to ensure that everyone working with you and for you are taken care of in the event of an accident or illness.