As an employee, the company that you work for has a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for you. When you sustain an injury, it can seem overwhelming to deal with all the medical treatments and the potential job loss. However, worker’s compensation can fill in that gap for you. There is a lot of crazy information about worker’s compensation out there, so here are a few things that you should know.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Worker’s compensation is a state-mandated program that provides compensation for workers who are injured or disabled on the job. Workers’ compensation programs are run by the state rather than the federal government, so the requirements differ from state to state. Worker’s compensation covers the costs for medical treatments and any loss of wages that you may incur.

What Incidents Are Covered?

Worker’s compensation insurance covers any injuries that occur while an employee is at work or performing any work functions. Simply put, if you are on the clock and you get hurt, you should be covered by worker’s compensation. However, there are limits. If you are hurt, and you fail a drug or alcohol test, you won’t be covered. If you purposely injure yourself or you are injured while not working, you probably won’t be covered either. Worker’s compensation isn’t a free pass to be careless at work.

What Expenses Are Covered?

Workers’ compensation insurance covers a variety of things, and the specifics of each claim will differ depending on circumstances. In general, it will cover medical expenses for treatment of your injuries, compensation for any permanent disability, lost wages during treatment and recovery. If you have a family member who died because of an accident at work, you may be eligible to receive a settlement on their behalf to help pay for funeral costs.

Can I Sue My Employer?

Worker’s compensation and suing your employer are two different things. When claiming worker’s compensation, you file the paperwork with the state board, and they assess your case. Once you have claimed the benefits they grant you, you cannot sue your employer. Additionally, if you have sued your employer in a personal injury claim, you are no longer eligible for worker’s compensation. The best thing to do if you are considering suing your employer is to talk through your options with a lawyer before you make any moves. Your lawyer can help you determine which process will be best for you and your situation.

If you have been injured in the workplace, you need to educate yourself on workers’ compensation benefits before rushing to bring your employer to justice. Don’t move too slow, as you don’t want to let the statue of limitations expire, but you also don’t want to end up in a sticky situation because you didn’t think things through completely.