As an employer, you aim to provide a safe environment for your workers. While you may not be able to prevent every accident, implementing preventative safety measures can go a long way in preventing injuries. For those incidents that still inevitably happen, workers compensation insurance can help protect your business against financial liability for a worker’s medical bills, rehabilitation, and lost wages. This can include injuries stemming from a wide range of circumstances, examples of which may include:
- Car accidents while on the job
- Injuries due to natural disasters
- Toxic workplace exposures
- Equipment-related injuries
- And more
At Leonard Insurance, we help Milwaukee area employers find workers compensation insurance that protects businesses, covers their workers and maintains compliance with legal coverage requirements.
What is Workers Compensation Insurance?
A workers compensation insurance policy is coverage you purchase from an independent agent here at Leonard Insurance. Coverage provides benefits to injured employees, but it ultimately helps protect your business against expensive litigation and financial obligation to hurt workers and their families. In other words, an injury or death for which your business may have otherwise been sued for may be covered by workers compensation insurance, the claims against which typically limit a worker’s right to sue your company for direct compensation of damage.
Generally, workers compensation insurance can cover the cost of medical bills and rehabilitative expenses when a worker is injured. It can also compensate the worker for wages lost during the recovery period, as well as long-term benefits for workers who need permanent, ongoing medical care or re-training for a job. In the event of a tragedy that results in a worker’s death, workers compensation insurance can also help cover compensation for the family of the deceased, including funeral costs.
With traditional liability insurance, fault must be established before a policy will pay benefits to a victim. However, workers compensation insurance operates on a no-fault system, which means no designation of fault is required to file a claim and receive benefits. Instead, workers compensation insurance generally provides benefits for injured employees regardless of whose negligence is responsible for the injury. (Exceptions may apply, such as for a worker’s intentional, self-inflicted injuries.)
This no-fault system prevents a lengthy litigation process, and it ensures the worker gets the immediate medical care and attention necessary without financial burden. Furthermore, claims made against workers compensation insurance gives some protection to the employer, making it more difficult for an injured employee to file suit against the business. Exceptions may apply to injured workers who have previously waived their rights to workers compensation coverage or to those who were not made aware of their right to waive coverage.
Wisconsin Workers Compensation Act
In Wisconsin, most public and private workers are covered under the Workers Compensation Act, which requires most employers to carry workers compensation insurance. Under the law, this applies to employers with three or more full-time or part-time employees, or employers with one or more workers with a combined gross quarterly wage of $500 or more. The Act also requires coverage for farmers with 6 or more workers employed in a single day for 20 days or more in a calendar year.
Failure to carry workers compensation insurance when your business is legally required to do so could result in penalties for non-compliance. These could equal an amount double the insurance premium you would have paid during the period your business failed to carry coverage. In addition, the State of Wisconsin could force the suspension or closure of your business, and you could be held personally liable as the owner of your business for any injuries your employees sustained while working and were unable to obtain workers compensation benefits for.
Exceptions may apply in certain scenarios, such as when workers are family members. Volunteers, domestic servants, sole proprietors, members and partners of a limited liability company, real estate agents, and certain other individuals may also be excluded from Wisconsin coverage requirements. However, we recommend talking with your independent agent to determine if workers compensation insurance is right for your business.
Filing a Claim
If one of your workers is injured on the job, you should immediately provide that employee with information about your worker’s compensation coverage, policy number, and carrier. You should take steps to report the injury to your insurance carrier within seven days or as outlined in your coverage. If the accident resulted in a fatality, you should report the incident directly to the Wisconsin Workers Compensation Division within 24 hours. Failure to report or delayed reporting could result in penalties of tens of thousands of dollars or more.
Purchasing Wisconsin Workers Compensation Coverage
If you own a business in the greater Milwaukee area, Leonard Insurance can help you better understand workers compensation coverage and help you find a policy that fits your company’s needs. Our goal is to help you minimize your risk exposures as a business owner and also provide important protections to the employees who help keep your business going.
We understand state workers compensation requirements and can help you find coverage that keeps your business legally compliant and in good-standing with Wisconsin law. Whether you are about to hire your first employee or need coverage for a large payroll, we can help you explore coverage options for your business. For more information about Wisconsin workers compensation insurance or to request your free quote, contact our office today.