Guest Post by: Eric Tress Eric@TheRosenfeldFoundation.com
Getting injured at work is never a welcome occurrence. It may cause you to miss work for days or even weeks as you recuperate. If the injury is severe, it could put you out of work altogether.
As if the hospital bills and possible loss of wages are not enough, work-related injuries can also trigger a lot of emotional and mental distress. There is a small consolation in knowing that workers compensation exists to alleviate such stress.
What is workers’ compensation?
Worker’s compensation is a program that pays benefits to workers when they suffer a work-related injury. The payment is designed to help a worker handle the expenses resulting from the injury.
Companies are liable to pay benefits to their workers when their machinery and workplace conditions result in employees getting injured. The compensation laws in India differ depending on the size of the organization.
The Employees’ State Insurance Act (1948) applies to companies that employ over 20 employees. According to the act, the company and its employees should contribute to insurance in case of injury. If the worker gets injured at work, the insurance will pay for any medical bills and other financial support.
Companies that employ less than 20 employees are guided by the Employee’s Compensation Act (1923). According to the act, employers should:
- Inform employees of their right to compensation, electronically or in writing, in a language that they understand.
- Compensate an employee if he/she gets injured in the line of work resulting in any form of disability or death.
- Pursue a settlement in court if it (the employer) does not come to an agreement on compensation with the employee.
Do you have a worker’s compensation program in your company? Workplace accidents are bound to happen, you should find out if you have a workers compensation program in your company and what it entails for you and your colleagues. As mentioned above, your employer is obligated under law to inform you of your compensation rights anyway. So it should not be too hard to find out.
How is worker’s compensation calculated in India?
Workers compensation programs do not only benefit employees; they also help employers. They are in place to ensure any work-related injury is settled as amicably as possible.
As for the payments, there is a set amount. The amount is enough for the employee to get fair compensation while ensuring the employer is not taken to the cleaners.
According to the Employees Compensation Act (1923), the amount of compensation paid by employers is determined by;
- The worker’s age
- The type of injury suffered
- The worker’s average monthly income
If a worker dies after a work accident, compensation is calculated as fifty per cent of the monthly income multiplied by the relevant factor or 50,000 rupees, whichever is more. The money is usually paid to dependents of the deceased employee.
Where a worker is permanently disabled, he/she is compensated with an amount equal to 60 per cent of his/her monthly income multiplied by the relevant factor or 60,000 rupees, whichever is more.
If a worker is temporarily disabled, compensation is calculated as 90 per cent of his/her monthly wages paid until he/she recovers from the injury.
Do all work-related injuries qualify for worker’s compensation?
You may be wondering which work-related injuries qualify for worker’s compensation. Well, the type of injuries that are eligible for compensation fall in the following categories.
- Aggravation of pre-existing conditions
For example, if you have joint pains that are made worse by unreasonable work demands.
- Injuries resulting from mental or physical strain
For example, if you develop an emotional condition such as anxiety due to an employer’s harassment.
- Injuries that occur during work breaks or company activities
For example, breaking your leg at the company cafeteria because you slid on some spillage. Or suffering an injury during a company team-building exercise.
- Getting injured from exposure to bad working conditions
For example, inhaling dust that causes breathing difficulties. It could also happen when you are forced to work with substandard machinery or without proper protective gear.
Which work-related injuries are exempt from workers compensation?
Some injuries are not covered under workers compensation terms. Some good examples are;
- Wounds inflicted when misusing/abusing company machinery
- Injuries resulting from crimes committed at work. For example, when fighting or joking around.
- Injuries that occur when at work at the wrong time. Like if you were at work when you are not officially supposed to be there.
- Injuries resulting from working while drunk or high on drugs.
- Injuries resulting from doing something that is a violation of company policy. Such as when working with machinery without wearing safety gear.
The thing to understand here is that a work-related injury must occur when you are at work, and following regulations. You can see more about worker’s compensation in India here.
Workers compensation for work-related injuries caused by third persons
Sometimes your work-related injuries are caused by third parties. Here we mean you are working and someone that is not from your company injures you. For example, you are driving a company car while out on company business, and someone crashes into your vehicle. What happens?
Well, you can sue a third party for workers compensation. To do this, you must prove that the third party is responsible for the injuries you sustain. Usually, your employer will pursue the case for you. That way, the company can also get compensated for any losses.
Seeking compensation for work-related injuries from third parties is often tricky. If you are facing such a situation and are not sure what to do, you should contact a lawyer proficient in worker’s compensation cases for advice. This article can give you valuable information on how to go about it.
Getting a lawyer to help you get compensation for work-related injuries
Since workers’ compensation is often an administrative issue, employees are often unsure about whether to seek the help of a lawyer.
Although workers don’t need to use lawyers to get compensation, it is advisable. Lawyers that specialize in workers compensation matters can help you get the most compensation and save you the stress of handling the issue.
People avoid getting lawyers because of the cost. The fact is, you are likely to lose money if you don’t use a workers compensation lawyer anyway. Many lawyers will also work on your case without asking for payment upfront. They wait until you get compensated to get paid.
So if you are wondering whether it’s a good idea to use a workers’ compensation lawyer to get benefits for your work-related injuries – do it! The labour laws do not prohibit it. Your employer cannot take away your job because of it either. Call a worker’s compensation lawyer for a consultation today!