The Best Way to Deal with Work Injuries
As a business owner, you should be well aware that workers compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that provides covered employees with income and medical benefits for times when they sustain an injury or illness that is work-related. Private employers can make the choice as to whether to provide a workers compensation policy in Texas or not. Keep in mind that this is coverage that makes it easier to hire and retain good employees.
Circumstances surrounding any injury will dictate whether an injury will be covered. For example, workers are not covered if their injury was as a result of horseplay, willful criminal acts or self-injury. In addition, intoxication due to the use of drugs or alcohol, voluntary participation in an off-duty recreational activity, or a third party’s criminal act (if directed against the employee) for personal reasons unrelated to the work, or acts of God are not covered events.
The claims process
Injured workers must file injury reports within thirty days of the accident, and must appeal the first impairment rating within 90 days of its issuance. They must also file the formal paperwork for the workers’ comp claim within one year of the injury. If the work-related nature of the injury or illness was not immediately apparent, those deadlines run from the date on which the employee should have known the problem was work-related.
To aid with the rehabilitation process, the law places a heavy emphasis on return-to-work programs, since studies show that recovery is faster and much more efficient when an employee, once healthy enough, is given some type of useful work to do by the company. The laws do state that an employee’s refusal of suitable light-duty work can put a stop to the payment of workers’ compensation benefits.
If you should decide to discontinue your workers’ compensation coverage, you must inform employees and the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Texas Department of Insurance as soon as possible, using applicable state form DWC005. Protecting your workers is a no-brainer. A best business practice is to provide a workers compensation policy in Texas to create a happier work environment.