It’s likely that the last thing on your mind during your morning commute is the possibility that your day at work may end in tragedy, but unfortunately, that possibility is all too real. Even though the likelihood of workplace injuries has greatly decreased since the introduction and enforcement of regulations created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (otherwise known as OSHA), the chances of leaving your job without any consequences to your health are never zero. That is why, in an effort to protect workers, Illinois law requires employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance. What does this mean for you?
Table of Contents
After the initial shock of a workplace incident, your first worry might be the question: how much is this going to cost me? No matter the type or level of severity of your injury, your top priority after any accident should always be to focus on your recovery. This includes making sure that you get proper medical treatment for your injuries, regardless of the price. This is where worker’s compensation steps in to save the day by taking all of the financial stress out of your hospital visits. From stitches surgeries, your employer’s insurance should have you covered, so you can focus on taking care of yourself until you’re ready to return to work.
If your injuries are severe enough to require surgery or long-term treatment, they could put you out of work for a bit. Unfortunately, your financial responsibilities won’t be put on pause just because of your injuries. You’ll still need some way to pay for your cost of living: food, water, shelter, etc. Like the concern over medical bills, the added stress of worrying about lost wages is more likely to hinder rather than help your recovery. Granted, your employer is just as anxiously counting down the days, waiting for your return, but going back too soon at the expense of your health could cause more problems for you in the long run and simply isn’t worth the risk. The lawmakers who created worker’s compensation understood this, and that is why worker’s comp can make your unexpected time-off much more manageable by providing compensation for any lost wages in addition to your medical expenses–just another way that these benefits help you to sit back, relax, and focus on getting better.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to medical bills and lost wages, there are some cases where workplace injuries can result in unforeseen setbacks in your personal life. You have responsibilities and people who rely on you. Your injuries could impact your ability to follow through on your responsibilities and harm your relationships with others–making you feel isolated and purposeless. The effects to your mental health after an accident are not always as clear as the effects on your physical health, and that is why it is important to have the right legal representation, in your corner to be sure that you receive all of the compensation that you are due. Did you lose a deposit after having to cancel a vacation last-minute? Did you have to hire a nanny because you needed a little extra help taking care of your kids after getting injured? Did you have to start seeing a therapist more regularly as a result of the domino effect that stemmed from your workplace accident? These could all be claims for financial recompense from the worker’s compensation program.
The loss of a loved one is never an easy thing to face. However, if their death is a direct result of workplace accidents–whether the accident causes injury or illness due to exposure to carcinogens or otherwise deadly toxins–the benefits that you could receive from workers’ compensation extend beyond financial indemnity for medical bills and pain and suffering. Under the laws of worker’s compensation, the family of the deceased would receive a fraction of their loved one’s wages. At a time of such tragedy, worker’s compensation can help alleviate any additional stress stemming from worries about funeral or burial costs.
Better than Financial Compensation
Of course, what’s better than financial compensation is not having to face any of the pain that comes with workplace accidents. The best way to avoid accidents and tragedy in the workplace is to have a risk management program that effectively trains employees to put safety first because the best kind of caution is precaution. In addition to having an emphasis on training, an effective risk management program will also be open to adaptations and improvements in order to fit the ever-changing nature of safety in the workplace as a company grows.