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Workers’ Comp Benefits – Do I Have to Pay for It?

Workers’ compensation insurance is required for many employers in every state. It is meant to encourage a safe workplace and provides benefits for covered workers who are injured in the scope of carrying out their job duties. Though rules vary from state to state, each has rules to determine whether or not a business is required to provide coverage. There are also rules governing whether or not the employee is covered.


Criteria to determine mandatory coverage for a company may include:

  • Number of employees
  • Type of work performed
  • Type of business

Though farm, domestic and seasonal workers are usually covered, not all laborers may be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, independent contractors and volunteers are not eligible. However, some have challenged the classification in court as some businesses try to circumvent labor laws by misclassifying employees as contractors.


There are three ways to fund workers’ compensation coverage: state programs, private insurance and self-funded. The method of coverage will determine who pays out or administers the benefits.

State Programs

The department of labor or commerce typically runs the state-administered insurance programs. The businesses that choose this option generally have fewer accidents and pay their premiums for coverage into the state program.

Private Insurance

Most states allow the option for companies to select a private insurance company to administer its workers’ compensation policies. In this instance, it works very similarly to how most of us pay for our car insurance.


Self-funded insurance coverage is usually limited to very large corporations. These companies have to provide proof to the state in which they operate that they have adequate resources to cover any benefits that may need to be paid out in the event of an accident. Most hire a third-party company to administer the benefits. The state will take a more active role in oversight for companies who choose to self-fund.


Employees are protected from illness or injury incurred while performing their jobs. The types of payments that can be expected from a workers’ compensation claim are:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Death 

Coverage is not dependent on the location of the accident, but on whether or not the employee was acting on behalf of his or her employer. A car accident on a business trip would be covered, while a car accident on the way to work would not be subject to benefits.

If you have been denied workers’ compensation benefits for an illness or injury suffered at work, contact a licensed work injury lawyer in Milwaukee, WI experienced with workers’ compensation cases.

Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation and if you have to pay for it.