Workers Compensation

Lacking Workers’ Compensation Coverage Can Result in Penalties

To effectively run a business, no matter the size, you need workers’ compensation coverage. In fact, if you do not have it, there may be a penalty for not having workers’ compensation insurance. Here is what you need to know.

The Importance of Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Most states require that businesses have some type of workers’ compensation coverage. There are exceptions, dependent on how many employees a business has and what state you are in. Workers’ compensation insurance is a protection for workers who suffer injuries on the job and likewise protection to businesses. If you have workers’ compensation coverage, then an employee cannot sue you for injuries or illnesses that he or she received while on the job.

The Fines for Not Carrying Workers’ Compensation

The experts at Caitlin Morgan Insurance Services warm that failure to carry workers’ compensation coverage can result in fines between $1,000 and $10,000. This is significant for any employer to have to pay. The cost of workers’ compensation benefits represents about only 2% of a business’s operating costs.

To avoid fines and lawsuits for illness or injury, it is always better to have workers’ compensation coverage. It will cost your company less in the long run to have coverage that protects your employees and protects your company.

Contractors and Construction Insurance in Wayne, NJ

Being an active participant in the construction industry means that you fully realize that safety must be the number one priority for both workers and visitors to the worksite. Construction Insurance in Wayne, NJ is vital for all contractors to have in place. This policy will provide coverage in the event that anyone is injured on the job site.

Examining hiring practices

The construction industry is made up of individual workers, each contracted to provide services under distinct terms, from subcontractors to hired employees, and from labor brokers to independent contractors. There are different circumstances with each type of paid worker. With subcontractors, it’s generally advised that you, as a contractor, draw up a contractual agreement while ensuring that participants are licensed, bonded, and insured before hiring them. They bear equal responsibility for the project and may be liable for any issues if a client deems that the work is subpar, or in the event that the job is not completed.

Hired employees, however, don’t fall under the same requirements. For example, when hiring employees, the contractor is required by law to withhold taxes, pay wages, benefits, and comply with all employment laws. They are also required to provide workers comp insurance in the event of any on-the-job injuries. The contractor may also opt to solicit a broker to help provide labor. They will have a similar relationship with these workers who are also considered employees during the course of performing work for the contractor’s company.

Hiring independent contractors means that the contractor pays them directly but isn’t responsible for paying benefits or withholding taxes. There are strict tax reporting requirements in place for working with independent contractors that must be followed to avoid breaking any rules or laws regarding this type of employee, which could result in costly fines if not adhered to.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) require that contractors provide a safe workplace for their employees, one free from any recognizable hazards. Things such as tools, scaffolding, debris, and any large machinery and trucks constantly moving back and forth all pose concerns due to the risks involved in working in these conditions. In any case, Construction Insurance in Wayne, NJ should, without question, be used to provide necessary benefits, along with protecting the interests of everyone involved in the project.

Attorney Professional Liability Insurance in Austin, TX

Attorney Professional Liability Insurance in Austin, TX is vital for those times when, for any number of reasons, a relationship between you and a client turns sour. When this is in fact the case, while you may hope for a peaceful resolution, it may end with an unsatisfied client and litigation is likely to be pursued. A couple of common issues that often develop are a situation where you may decide to withdraw for certain reasons, or the relationship between you and your client breaks down to the point where you both decide to part ways. In either case, this is the time when your professional liability policy will come into play.

Have you provided your client with good service?

Perhaps no professional shortcoming is more widely resented than procrastination. A client’s interests can often be adversely affected by the passage of time or any change of conditions. For example, if you were to overlook a statute of limitations your client’s legal position may be jeopardized and this could result in them bringing a claim against you. Even when your client’s interests are not affected in substance, any unreasonable delay may cause your client needless anxiety and undermine their confidence in you.

Unless either party terminates the relationship you should carry through to conclusion all matters undertaken for a client. Once the matter has been resolved the relationship naturally terminates. The client may assume that you will continue to serve on a continuing basis unless you give notice of withdrawal. Any doubt about whether a client-lawyer relationship exists should be clarified by you in writing so that your client will not mistakenly suppose that you are looking after his or her affairs when in fact you have ceased to do so.

Whenever a representation is terminated, whether by the lawyer or the client, the lawyer still has certain responsibilities to consider. A lawyer must take steps, to the extent reasonably practicable, to protect the client’s interest, including giving reasonable notice, allowing time for the client to engage other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled, and refunding any unearned retainer.

These are the times when every attorney can benefit from having Professional Liability Insurance in Austin, TX. Speak to an agent with any questions or concerns pertaining to this coverage.

Protecting Your Staff with Workers Compensation Programs

You know that the stakes are awfully high for workers in nursing homes simply for the fact that they face the risk of injury due to all of the strenuous duties and tasks they perform every day. These injuries can often be the result of activities performed in their regular service to patients residing at their facility.

Various nursing home Workers Compensation Programs allow you to provide insurance to your clients that face the concern of losing staff to injuries, sometimes severe enough that they may miss work for weeks or even months. This coverage is not only mandatory, but it provides the type of financial and medical support those injured individuals will rely on during their recuperation and, with any luck, a subsequent return to the workplace.

Types of injuries covered by workers comp insurance

Provided that the injury occurs at work, or while on the job, most are covered under any standard workers comp claim. Musculoskeletal injuries are rather common, and these can often occur as a result of a simple slip and fall accident. For example, falling on a floor that was recently mopped can lead to sprained ankles, torn muscles, and even bruised tendons.

Nurses and other staff responsible for carrying residents, often in a fragile state and especially at awkward angles, can easily become injured. Such activities can result in back strains, herniated discs, and over-extension of certain muscles, plus there is the additional risk for major back problems and other musculoskeletal problems.

Exposure to pathogens and other infectious agents

The American Nursing Association estimates that as many as two out of three nurses report being accidentally stuck with needles at work. This raises concerns about the possibility that a syringe that may contain viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens could puncture the skin, and this could quite possibly put that nurse at risk for serious illness. Nurses are also asked to handle biological waste, as well as perform work with medicines and chemicals that could cause an adverse reaction.

There are also concerns about psychological issues developing. This could be due to long hours, lack of natural sunlight at some facilities, and even poor eating habits, all of which could produce any number of psychological ailments, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even problems related to sleeping.

Therefore your clients operating nursing homes need the valuable protection of Workers Compensation Programs to deal with all types of issues related to the health of their staff.

Finding the Right Small Business Workers Compensation Programs

Workers compensation programs are designed to ensure your company meets all the requirements it faces for adequately supporting employees who are injured on the job, during the course of their regular duties. Since many states have requirements for employers with only a single employee, finding a managing general agent (or MGA) with experience helping businesses at your size and experience level. This is true whether you are starting up and running things yourself or working to establish multi-state operations during your expansion.

Small Account Programs

When you are looking for coverage for a family company, a mom and pop operation, or another fairly small business, finding an MGA with a specialized small account program brings a few key benefits to the table, including:

  • Streamlined workers compensation programs that fit your budget
  • Experienced support from professionals who understand your company
  • Resources geared toward ensuring you meet your requirements and know your coverage

Growth and Adaptation

Depending on your business, it might also be important to plan for growth. This means finding a workers comp provider who not only has the support you need for a small business in place, but one that has options for your growth into the future. That way, you have the coverage you need from the moment you become your own employee to the day you need a fast quote for multi-state coverage that still treats all your employees consistently.


Injuries, Accidents, and Florida Workers Compensation Insurance

As the owner of a business that has four or more employees, if one of your employees is injured on the job in the Sunshine State, or sustains an occupational disease or illness as a result of their employment, you’re going to have a Florida workers’ compensation insurance claim to deal with. The only exception is if you’re an employer in Florida and you work in construction you must provide workers’ compensation coverage regardless of the number of employees.

Employees that sustain an injury arising out of, and in the course of employment, or any disease or infection as a result of a work-related injury are entitled to compensation under the law. The only requirement is that the injury or illness must occur within the scope of their employment. This means that injuries occurring during commuting or during non-work related activities usually will not be covered under a workers’ compensation claim.

Common job related injuries

Some typical job related, industrial injuries include:

  • Back strains/sprains
  • Knee injuries
  • Elbow injuries
  • Shoulder injuries, and injuries related to lifting, or pulling/pushing heavy objects

Occupational illnesses can include anything from toxic exposures over a long period of time, to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which is common for workers who spend an inordinate amount of time working on computers, or performing other repetitive tasks.

Workers are responsible for reporting their workplace injury or work-related illness to their employer as soon as the accident or injury occurs, or as soon as possible. When an employee is involved in a work-related accident, the state of Florida requires that they report the incident to their employer within 30 days of the date of the accident.

Also, if a doctor informs the injured party that they are suffering from a work-related injury or illness, they are again required to report the injury or illness to their employer within 30 days of the date that their doctor told them this information. Failure to report within the timeframe required will often result in denial of any workers’ compensation claim.

Workers compensation laws are in place to protect the employer as well as his or her employees. Having Florida workers compensation insurance in place provides necessary benefits that can have a lasting effect on the employer-employee relationship.

Following OSHA Reporting Requirements Is Part of Good Workers Comp Practices

Workers Comp underwriters look for the very best risks to insure–meaning those insureds that are least likely to present claims that the insurance company will have to be responsible for paying out on. Thus, those employers that cultivate a culture of safety first on the job–and make a point to stay on top of current requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (commonly referred to as OSHA) and make sure that employees follow them–hold a privileged place in the mind of those who make decisions on which companies it makes good business sense to offer protection to. This privilege is reflected not only in the green light the companies receive to grant them access to coverage, it also can affect the pricing they are quoted for premiums.

Good recordkeeping practices play a role as well. It is important that employers understand the changes in time-sensitive reporting requirements set forth by OSHA. It can be easy to overlook these mandatory events in the aftermath of a tragedy, yet it is critical that the established point of contact provide the information to the appropriate party. For example, a recent incident at a multimillion-dollar sports stadium construction site made news when one worker fell 300 feet to his death and another was severely injured trying to save the felled worker. Imagine the shock and horror felt by the coworkers and managers, let alone the terrible task of informing the victims’ families. Nevertheless, OSHA reporting would also be one of the first things that would also need to be handled. That’s because, effective January 1, 2015, all employers are required to report the following:

  • All work-related fatalities must be reported within 8 hours
  • All work-related in-patient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye must be reported within 24 hours

This new rule provides a variety of other updates as well, including the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to keep OSHA records on workplace injury and illnesses, largely because of the relatively minor level of workplace injury and illness rates in those industries. The new list is based on data in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as well as information on injuries and illnesses from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collected in more recent years. Previously, the list was based on industries in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and older BLS injury and illness data.

Workers comp underwriters look at a variety of data to determine what risks to insure. Employers and employees can work together to maintain a safe environment and make those determinations easier for everyone involved.


Understanding the Need for Workers Compensation Coverage

Erin was filled with an entrepreneurial spirit and like her parents before her, was intent on being her own boss and starting her own company. About 25 permits and license applications into the process, she found her spirit lagging but nevertheless was determined to press forward. The concept of protecting herself and her business from liability was a complex one, she knew, so Erin wisely sought the guidance of a professional insurance agent to explain the intricacies of coverage to her. Her first question: “What is workers compensation insurance and why do I need it?”

Erin’s agent explained that the policy is a type of protection for employees who are injured or become ill or disabled in the course of working on the job, providing for medical benefits and wage replacement, and even benefits that are paid to the dependents of workers who are killed while on the job. Those who are permanently injured receive compensation intended to provide for loss of income related to the accident. Also, once a business has four or more employees, in most cases coverage for the company is required by law, explained her agent.

A tradition continued

Erin’s hard work and dedication to details paid off–after just four years, her business was thriving. What’s more, her early question about “what is workers compensation insurance?” paid off when one of her employees injured his back while trying to move a stack of heavy boxes from a high shelf and was off for five months recovering after surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Erin’s coverage paid the expenses associated with the claim, and the return to work program her agent helped Erin maintain a positive connection with her injured worker. The open, easy communication enhanced the company’s ability to stay abreast of all required paperwork and facilitated the employee’s smooth return to the workplace without any additional delay. Furthermore, Erin’s agent made sure that she had the correct amount of coverage to ensure her business had the appropriate amount of protection as well as would not violate laws, leaving her open to financial penalties. Her agent also helped Erin figure out loss control tactics that would help eliminate risks on the job-for one thing, putting a limit on the number of heavy boxes employees are able to remove from shelves at one time, and training employees on the do’s and don’ts of lifting in general.

Talk to your agent about safety programs and coverage requirements so that, like Erin, you can help ensure your business and your employees are well protected.

Workers Comp MGA and Dealing with Fraud

Most employers look to their agents to provide a better understanding of the benefits of workers’ compensation insurance. But even with all the benefits of a Workers Comp MGA program, there can still be drawbacks. One of the biggest concerns regarding the system is fraud.

If an employee is injured on the job, the insurance provides funds to pay for the medical bills along with a portion of the lost wages while the employee recovers from their injuries. The employee doesn’t have to fear losing his or her job after reporting a work-related injury, so there is less incentive for them to keep injuries quiet. But cases continually come to light where an employee makes a false or inaccurate claim as a way of trying to cheat the system.

Types of workers’ compensation fraud

Fraudulent activity can occur at every stage of a workers’ compensation claim, therefore employers must be vigilant to ensure the system is being properly implemented and carried out consistently, taking care to not reduce benefits for legitimate claims while working to reduce or eliminate fraudulent claims.

Some of the main ways fraud occurs during the workers’ compensation process includes:

  1. The severity of an injury can be exaggerated: Even if the injury is real, someone may try to make it out to be worse than it actually is. For example, someone out on leave may claim they have not had proper time to heal, when in fact they are healthy enough to return to work.
  2. A so-called “accident” can be intentional: Employees have been known to allow themselves to get hurt on purpose, which may often include injuries that are completely falsified.
  3. Employees may claim workers’ compensation for injuries that happened in the past or may have an existing injury that they claim as being new or recent: Some potential red flags that may indicate this include no witnesses to the injury, injuries with medical details that don’t match up with the employee’s version of what caused the injury, or injuries that are reported that don’t appear to be new (for example, evidence of old scar tissue).

Agents, with the help of a Workers Comp MGA program, should help employers properly insure in order to aid them during legitimate claims while working to prevent false claims from occurring.

Helping to Maintain Lower Workers Compensation Rates

Nurses and aides who work with the elderly and those in particularly poor health, including those working in hospitals, nursing homes and home health care workers, provide critical medical assistance services that often involve a high possibility of substantial injuries. The most common injuries seen are the lifting injuries, primarily involving the lower back, whenever patients are moved or assisted during the course of care.


Since many nursing facilities see these recurring injuries on a semi-regular basis, owners are aware of their obligation to provide workers comp insurance, but are always looking for ways to keep workers compensation rates low. Nursing facilities that take the necessary time to address an injured worker’s fundamental needs after sustaining a work-related injury can help to improve this situation. Serious injury requires a specialist’s care, and lower back injuries in particular should never go untreated. Both worker and patient are placed at risk when a potentially serious injury is ignored.


Common cause of workers sustaining an injury


Many caregivers end up standing on their feet for much of their 12-hour shift and are often required to lift heavy patients, constantly stooping over beds in order to treat those in need. It’s no surprise that at the end of the day their backs are extremely sore. Nurses actually have one of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries and most will suffer from back pain at some point during their careers. Therefore, it is important to take measures to prevent these issues, which may keep nurses and staff healthier.


Ways in which aid workers can resolve some issues


Having help can greatly reduce the odds of experiencing a back injury. For instance, transporting a patient from a chair into his or her bed by using mechanical support could prevent workers from hurting their backs. Staying in shape could greatly prevent excess strain on the back, as well as the hips, knees, ankles and feet. Lifting weights can help make legs, arms and the back stronger, which could also stop an injury from taking place.


Always make use of the legs for support when lifting. Start by bending at the knees, and use legs to support and help lift up heavy objects. Simply bending over at the waist and picking up the object can lead to a severe strain. Practicing safe techniques may prevent a painful and debilitating injury, and can keep employers’ workers compensation rates manageable.


photo credit: CERTs cc