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What Types Of Injuries Are Covered By Workers’ Compensation?

worker injured from a fall

In 2020, the United States Department of Labor said that nursing assistants, registered nurses, laborers, truck drivers, and order fillers were the top five private occupations with the most injuries and illnesses resulting in days off from work.

 

If you’re running a business involving any of these occupations, you may be considering getting workers’ compensation for your employees. If so, what advantages do your business and employees receive from getting this type of insurance?

 

This article explores the benefits of getting workers’ compensation for your business and discusses the injuries and situations covered under this insurance.

 

Accidents and injuries can happen anytime in the workplace. For instance, if you're working on a construction site and a vehicle hits you because the driver was intoxicated, you will require medical attention and may need diagnostic procedures like CT scans or X-rays for minor fractures.

 

Workers’ compensation is a government-mandated program that benefits workers when they become injured or ill because of their job.

 

Learning the types of injuries this program covers can help business owners decide whether getting this coverage is practical for their business and employees.

 

 

What Types Of Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance coverage that pays benefits to your employees who become injured or disabled as a result of their job.

 

In the U.S., individual states manage workers’ compensation, so the required benefits can vary significantly between states. Texas is the only state not requiring employers to maintain this insurance.

 

Workers’ compensation can cover numerous injury types. According to the NSC (National Safety Council), the most common workplace injuries include the following:

  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments: Injuries from this type of workplace risk include exposure to the following elements:

    • Electricity

    • Harmful substances and infectious diseases

    • Oxygen deficiency

    • Radiation and noise

    • Extreme temperatures

    • Traumatic or stressful events

    • Water and air pressure change

 

In 2020, the number of workers exposed to harmful substances was 424,360.

Out of this number, 390,020 cases resulted from COVID-19 exposure. The service-providing sector was the industry most affected by exposure to harmful substances, numbering 378,940 cases.

 

  • Overexertion and bodily reaction: Injuries under this category involve non-impact injuries or illnesses due to excessive physical effort. Common worker activities that can lead to this kind of injury include:
    • Carrying

    • Holding

    • Lifting

    • Pulling

    • Pushing

    • Throwing

  • Injuries or illnesses can also occur due to the repetitive nature of specific tasks, such as
    • Texting, typing, or using a mouse

    • Repetitive use of tools like knives, screwdrivers, or medical instruments

  • Single or prolonged instances of free bodily motion can also lead to injury and include the following activities:
    • Bending

    • Climbing

    • Crawling

    • Kneeling

    • Reaching

    • Twisting

    • Walking or running

  • Falls, slips, and trips: The NSC categorizes these events as falls on the same or lower level. 

    Falling to a lower level is the third leading fatal workplace event following highway crashes and intentional injury by persons. Such falls include falling from a collapsing structure or equipment.

    Meanwhile, falling on the same level is the third leading preventable injury or illness event in the workplace after exposure to harmful substances and overexertion injuries. Examples are slips and trips due to a wet floor or debris.

  • Contact with equipment or objects: Injuries caused by contact with equipment and objects is the third leading cause of work-related death in the U.S., numbering 196,140 in 2020.

    The following events fall under this category:

    • A worker striking a piece of equipment or object

    • A moving object striking a worker

    • A part of the worker’s body being squeezed, pinched, compressed, or crushed in equipment, between objects, or in a wire or rope

    • A worker caught, struck, or crushed in a collapsing structure, material, or equipment

    • A worker injured due to friction or pressure between the person and the injury source

    • A worker injured from vibration

  • Transportation incidents: Injuries from roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles is the number one cause of work-related deaths.

    This category includes injuries to vehicle occupants traveling on streets, public highways, roads typically used for travel, and surrounding areas like shoulders, telephone poles, bridge abutments, and trees along the roadway.

 

  • Violence and injuries by persons or animals: Assault is the fifth main cause of work-related deaths. Intentional injuries inflicted by another person include:

    • Stabbing, cutting, slashing, or piercing

    • Intentional shooting by another person

    • Hitting, kicking, beating, and shoving

    • Strangulation

    • Rape and sexual assault

    • Threats and verbal assault

    • Bombing and arson

 

Benefits of Getting Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Workers’ compensation works as a disability insurance program for workers by providing cash benefits, healthcare benefits, or both to workers who become injured or ill because of the nature of their jobs.

 

Not all states provide workers’ compensation. If you have a small business in a state where your business type doesn’t qualify for workers’ compensation, your employees may be unable to get this insurance.

 

Other states have specific requirements for different industries. Still, regardless of these requirements, many workers’ compensation plans usually offer the following benefits:

  • Salary replacement: This benefit pays your workers an amount typically less than their full salary. Some generous programs can pay about two-thirds of the person’s gross income.

    Workers’ compensation benefits usually are nontaxable at the federal or state level and compensate for much of your worker’s lost income.

  • Healthcare cost reimbursement and survivor benefits: Most compensation plans cover medical expenses related to injuries incurred due to employment. 

    Suppose you run a construction company, and one of your workers suffers an injury from falling from a scaffolding. They can claim compensation for that injury.

    However, if your worker gets involved in a car accident and gets injured while driving to the job site, the insurance may not cover the hospital bills.

 

Check your state’s laws regarding workers’ compensation to determine if your business should get one. Consult a lawyer or financial advisor for more information about this insurance for your employees.

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