Workers’ compensation is insurance carried by employers to cover injuries employees have on the job. The idea behind this coverage is to prevent personal injury lawsuits between employees and employers. It also helps to ensure that you, as an injured employer, get the benefits due to you to cover medical expenses and other losses associated with the injury you incur at work.
Most of the time, you will be in a situation where you qualify for these benefits automatically since this is a no-fault coverage that assumes you have a right to coverage. However, it is essential that you meet three main criteria.
You Must Be an Employee
You must be an employee at the place where you work. If you are not an employee, then the employer likely will not provide you with workers’ compensation coverage. Independent contractors generally do not have coverage. You need to check your status to be sure you are an employee and that your employer does not classify you in another way.
You Must Work for a Covered Employer
The State Library of Iowa explains that most employers will carry workers’ compensation insurance because they must under the law. Employers can get this insurance through a private insurer or the Iowa Insurance Commissioner.
Iowa workers compensation law states that an employer must pay its own fees for coverage. It also says that an employer can face criminal penalties if it does not carry insurance when legally bound to do so.
You should be able to ask your employer for information on its coverage. You can also check with the state to see if your employer has coverage. You have the right to report your employer if it does not have insurance and gain protection from retaliation for reporting.
You Must Have a Covered Injury
According to the Iowa Workforce Development, the definition of injury under Iowa law is very broad. Basically, a work injury is anything that causes physical harm other than normal wear and tear. It does have to happen while you are on the job during your work activities.
For example, if you break your arm while doing a normal work activity during your workday, then this is a covered injury. However, if you get into an auto accident on the way home from work after clocking out for the day, then this is not a covered injury.
To get your workers’ compensation benefits after a work injury, you will need to submit a claim. The claim does go through an approval process, but you will usually begin getting benefits soon after you file your claim with minimal wait time.