As the owner of a dental practice, knowing more about workers’ compensation may help you to create a safer work environment with policies and practices that help prevent accidents from occurring.
When an employee is affected by an accident or illness at work, or during their normal job duties, workers’ compensation insurance is intended to pay for related medical expenses.
Worker’s compensation and your role in it may be important to understand in order to protect yourself, your employees and your practice. Explore 6 things you may not already know about this insurance policy type.
1. Medical care is typically the main focus of these benefits.
Benefits for injured employees typically focus on paying for medical care, minimizing lost time through immediate, quality medical attention. For some workers and injuries, a case manager may be assigned to oversee and coordinate treatment and transition back into the workplace.
Depending on the circumstances and how long an employee is out of work, benefits may also include compensation for lost wages, typically a predetermined percentage of the employee’s regular wages.
2. Many states require and regulate workers’ compensation.
Before you hire even one employee, consider researching both state and federal requirements to understand the different types of insurance policies you may be required to carry as an employer. Coverage requirements may vary depending on the size of the business, the number of employees, the industry or the jobs of employees.
Insurance laws may also vary by state. Although the foundation of workers’ compensation insurance may be very similar nationwide, policies may work differently in practice, depending on location.
Your insurance provider or advisor may also be able to help you understand the regulations, especially if they’re familiar with the dental industry.
3. Coverage may extend to all work-related injuries, regardless of fault or where the injury occurred.
Any injuries caused or aggravated by an employee’s job duties may make them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, even if that injury is a recurring problem such as carpal tunnel.
Workers’ compensation may also apply to injuries and accidents regardless of whose fault they were, even if the employee’s own negligence caused the incident. Common, but potentially preventable, on-the-job injuries within a dental practice include back problems and carpal tunnel caused by repetitive motion.
In a similar fashion, the location of the injury or accident may also not factor into benefit eligibility, so long as the underlying cause was work-related. Injuries sustained during company-sponsored events, work-related training or conferences or even traffic accidents during job-related errands may all be considered work-related.
4. Long-term coverage or job training may apply for employees who can’t return to their jobs.
When an injury permanently affects an employee’s ability to return to work or perform their regular job duties, workers’ compensation insurance may help.
Long term workers’ compensation benefits, also known as permanent disability benefits or impairment income, may pay a predetermined percentage of an employee’s income for an amount of time set by state regulations and the severity or “rating” of the injury.
For employees who are medically cleared to return to work, but still impaired and unable to perform their previous job duties, workers’ compensation may provide job training and/or partial disability benefits.
5. Prevention and safety may be a part of some workers’ compensation programs.
Some workers’ compensation insurance policies may include resources, materials or training as part of an included occupational health and safety program. By helping you, the employer, to promote a safe work environment and practices, insurance companies may also benefit from fewer injured workers leading to fewer claims.
Commonly offered training and preventative measures for dental practices may include reviewing OSHA best practices, maximizing the safety of your clinic environment, ergonomics and prevention of job-related musculoskeletal disorders or repetitive stress injuries.
6. You’re Responsible for Documenting Work-Related Accidents and Injuries
Be prepared to collect the right information, as soon as the incident occurs, by having an accident report, outlining the relevant information for a worker’s compensation claim, readily available. Common information requested by the worker’s compensation insurance policy provider may include the time and date of the incident, an explanation of what happened, witness accounts, the location of the accident or injury and the medical care received.
Understanding Your Workers Compensation Insurance Needs
A workers’ compensation insurance policy may not only be required by law in your state, it may protect your practice against lawsuits and provide important support for your employees. Like other insurance products, knowing the details of your policy may help you to better understand your coverage and identify potential gaps before you’re really at risk.
A trusted insurance advisor may be able to help you navigate the insurance requirements of starting or buying a practice, as well as recommended policies for your specific situation.
About Treloar & Heisel
Treloar & Heisel is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service.
Insurance products offered through Treloar & Heisel, Inc.
Treloar & Heisel and Treloar & Heisel Risk Management are divisions of Treloar & Heisel, Inc.
All policy definitions and examples are meant for general illustrative purposes only. Please refer to the terms of your insurance contract for the governing definitions.
Treloar & Heisel, Inc. does not provide legal advice. Please consult a professional for questions about this topic.