Top Workers' Compensation Myths Debunked

Haley Bass

Workers’ compensation can be overwhelming. From finding the best and most affordable coverage to dealing with a workplace injury, the whole process can take up a lot of time and money. To avoid this, some employers will put off paying for a workers’ compensation policy—and there are a few work comp myths out there that seem to justify it.

But these myths are just that—myths—and they have the potential to get you in a lot of trouble if one of your employees ever does get injured. Here’s the facts about workers’ compensation:

Myth: Workers’ comp is just for large companies.

Wrong. In most states, having just four employees means you’re expected to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In construction, having even one employee means you need workers’ comp. Even if worker’s comp is optional in your state, you could still be held liable for workplace injuries.

Employee health is just as important to a small company as to a large one. For example, consider the impact a workplace injury could have in a small company. If you only employ three workers and one is out from an injury, you’re missing one-third of your workforce. Even if you’re not sued or asked to pay for the injury care, the lost productivity will still cost you money.

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to workers’ comp. Make the smart move and get coverage.

Myth: I already paid the workers’ comp claim, so my role as an employer is done.

You’d think so, but paying the claim is only the beginning when dealing with an employee’s injury. According to IWIF, the direct costs of a workplace injury (including medical care and insurance claims) could only be 10% of the total costs you’ll have to pay for the injury. That other 90%? Indirect costs, such as lost productivity and lost working hours.

To keep indirect costs as low as possible, employers should take an active role in your employee’s return-to-work program.  Making sure that you have a quick, effective program helps you spend less time paying for lost wages and lost productivity.

Myth: It would be cheaper to pay out-of-pocket for an injury than to pay for workers’ comp.

The potential for an on-the-job injury is never zero. Don’t set yourself up to be blindsided by out-of-pocket expenses when one of your employees gets injured. It’s more than just medical expenses for doctor’s appointments and prescriptions. There are also lost wages, and potentially even the cost of temporarily or permanently replacing the injured employee, depending on the extent of the injury. On top of all that, without workers’ comp coverage, an employee could potentially sue for damages, and costs can become exorbitant.

Luckily, most workers’ comp policies come from private insurers, so your business should have flexibility in choosing the best coverage. Insurers usually have procedures for what to do when an injury occurs, which can help reduce an employee’s time out of work and save you time and money.

Myth: My company doesn’t have to cover out-of-state employees.

Employers are still required to pay out-of-state employees. The same principle applies to workers’ comp coverage. Regardless of where your employees work, they’re still employed by your business, and you are required to follow each state’s requirements on coverage. Make sure your workers’ compensation policy covers every state in which you have an employee. Employers are held liable for workplace injuries no matter where they occur.

Myth: My employees won’t sue me.

Are you sure?

Even if things are great at your company now, you still run the risk of being sued in the event of an injury. It’s not about how good your company is or how positive of a relationship you have with your employees. It’s about the fact that getting injured at work is expensive both professionally and personally. Even the most loyal employee might be forced to file a lawsuit in order to pay his or her bills. Don’t put your employees to the test—get workers’ comp coverage so that you’re both covered if anything happens. You’ll avoid crazy expenses and keep your workforce safe.

Talk to a Concentra occupational medicine expert today to discuss workers’ compensation injury care solutions for your business.