At Zenith, we believe knowledge is power. We want to educate you about workers' compensation so you can separate fact from fiction and make smart choices in running your business. Here are some of the common facts and myths of workers' compensation.
FACT: Workers' compensation is a "no-fault" system.
Employees who are legitimately injured as a result of their work receive benefits as set by law, regardless of whose fault the injury is.
FACT: Workers' compensation covers two categories of work related injuries and illnesses.
- Injuries or illnesses (including death) that result from a specific work-related accident; and
- Injuries or illnesses that occur over a period of time that are directly related to employment. For example, repeated lifting of heavy items at work that causes shoulder strain can be covered.
FACT: Some injuries or conditions may not be covered by workers' compensation.
Injuries or conditions that develop over time can be harder to define. For example, a back strain could result from years of yard work at home, mental stress could result from personal problems that have nothing to do with the job, and a heart attack might date back to prior medical history.
FACT: Workers' compensation covers more than medical bills.
Serious injuries may require hospitalization, the use of medical specialists and longer periods of recuperation, resulting in time off from work. Workers' compensation benefits may include:
- Payment of all appropriate medical costs;
- Payment of a percentage of an employee's pre-injury salary;
- Vocational rehabilitation (as required); and
- Assistance with helping the employee return to work, possibly in a temporary, transitional work assignment or in a modified or alternative job.
MYTH: I have had no claims so my insurance costs should stay the same.
THE TRUTH IS...insurance costs are not just about your business. Your premium pricing reflects the pool of costs for all customers, including, but not limited to:
- Healthcare costs, which are rising at a much greater rate than inflation;
- Businesses that have claims;
- Fraudulent claims;
- Evolving types of workplace hazards such as asbestos, carpal tunnel and terrorism;
- Economic factors.
To the extent that Zenith's expertise can impact this pool of costs, our customers will pay less over the long term for workers' compensation insurance.
MYTH: You can't do much to control your workers' compensation premium.
THE TRUTH IS...the choices you make influence how much you'll ultimately spend on workers' compensation coverage, as well as the hidden costs of injuries to your business. By promoting safety, you reduce the odds of employee injuries. By reporting a claim to us promptly, you let us help you keep claim costs down. By encouraging an injured employee to return to work in a transitional role, you can cut claim costs. All of these actions can lower your premium.
MYTH: Fraud isn't that big a deal in workers' comp.
THE TRUTH IS... workers' compensation costs employers and insurers nationwide millions of dollars. Help us address this problem by learning to recognize red flags that might indicate fraud and then by contacting us as soon as possible.
MYTH: When an employee is ill or injured, you should butt out.
THE TRUTH IS...your active involvement plays a big role on many levels. By you and your employees keeping in touch with your injured co-worker, you show you care and send a message that everyone values his or her contribution to the team. By discussing transitional work with the employee's doctor, you can craft a plan to get the employee back to work faster. By keeping Zenith in the loop, you help us help you manage the process.
MYTH: The less you bring up workers' compensation with your employees, the better.
THE TRUTH IS...you have everything to gain by helping employees understand their workers' compensation rights and benefits—and your rights as their employer. Raising awareness reduces confusion and clarifies everyone's role in ensuring that injuries are, first, prevented, and when they do occur, that the claim process flows smoothly. Not talking about workers' compensation doesn't make the issue go away. In fact, it often leads to ignorance and misunderstanding among employees.
MYTH: All doctors charge roughly the same for their services, so it doesn't matter which medical provider your injured employee uses.
THE TRUTH IS...the same medical services can vary in price by hundreds—even thousands—of dollars. In fact, some doctors and medical clinics over-bill us and even charge us for phony procedures. We scrutinize medical bills to help reduce your claim costs, which in turn can lower your premium. We also work hard to identify doctors and medical providers who are honest and focus on providing quality care.
MYTH: When we ask you to keep accurate records — such as classifying employees' job duties properly — it helps us more than it helps you.
THE TRUTH IS...we're in this together. We share the same goals: to keep your business running productively with minimal disruption by employee injuries. By keeping accurate records, correctly classifying employees' job duties and reporting payroll in a timely manner, you avoid surprises in your premium cost and enable us to serve you better.