Workers compensation insurance is a form of insurance covering illness or injury that is caused by work.
In Vermont all employers are required by law to have workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation insurance is obtained and paid for by the employer. The cost of workers compensation insurance to the employer is based on the number of employees and the type of work they do.
All employees are covered by workers compensation insurance, including executives. Independent contractors may be covered if they are really more like employees. Employees of a subcontractor can be covered by a general contractor’s workers compensation. Owners of a business may opt out of workers compensation insurance coverage for themselves if they complete the requisite forms.
Workers compensation insurance “no fault.” This means the injured employee does not have to prove someone else was at fault for the injury. Most injury claims are not covered by no-fault insurance. In most injury claims, the injured party has to prove another other party was negligent. In workers compensation claims, the injured employee does not have to prove that the employer did something wrong or was negligent. The injured worker generally only has to prove that the injury happened at work or was caused by work.
Workers compensation insurance generally covers all injuries and illnesses. It covers injuries that would typically be expected, such as back injuries caused by lifting. But it also covers injuries that are not strongly connected to the work being done. For example, if someone walking to a meeting at work tripped over their own untied shoelace, that injury would be covered. It covers injuries that occur over time, such as a shoulder injury caused by reaching up high repeatedly. It also covers illnesses if the illness is connected to work. For example, it would cover respiratory illness caused by mold in the building where someone worked. Workers compensation insurance also covers an injury which was pre-existing and non-work related but was made worse by something work-related.
In Vermont, workers compensation insurance provides four types of benefits:
Lost wages (temporarily)
Compensation for permanent impairment
Workers compensation benefits are not very generous and are much less than the amount one might receive in a regular injury claim such as a car accident. The amount of workers compensation benefits is higher for those who have a higher wage.
The decision as to whether a workers compensation claim is accepted or denied is made by the workers compensation insurance company, not the employer. If an employee wishes to appeal the denial they file the appeal with the Vermont Department of Labor, Workers Compensation Division.
If you need help navigating a workers compensation claim call your Rutland, VT workers compensation attorney to ensure you get all of the compensation that you are entitled to.
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