If you’re a small business owner, you likely have a legal obligation to protect your team members and your business through workers’ compensation. Here’s a general overview of some of your potential responsibilities as an employer—followed by a deeper dive into what you can do if an employee becomes injured at work at work.


Remember, workers’ compensation laws vary by state, so visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s state workers’ compensation system map to locate your local workers’ compensation agency and learn the laws in your state. 


Overview: Employer obligations under workers’ compensation

First, the basics. Employers should provide employees with a safe place to work. They should also obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for your employees (according to the laws in your state). Employers should notify employees of their legal rights under workers’ compensation laws. Further, employers should comply with the requests of yourmstate’s workers’ compensation board. 


Filing workers’ comp: Small business owner responsibilities 

If an employee is injured at work, the employer may need to take several additional steps regarding filing workers’ comp (again, depending on their state’s system and workers’ compensation insurance provider):


  1. If the injury is severe, employers should obtain immediate emergency medical treatment for the employee. For minor injuries, injured employees should be encouraged to leave work to get medical attention.
  2. Employers should immediately submit an employer’s report of injury form to their workers’ comp insurance carrier.
  3. Employers should give an injured employee a workers’ compensation claim form and instructions for filing workers’ comp within 24 hours of the injury.
  4. Employers should provide the injured employee with information about their workers’ compensation rights and workers’ comp benefits.
  5. Employers should respect all rights of an employee under workers’ comp law.
  6. Employers should provide their workers’ compensation insurance carrier and their attorneys with requested followup documents, workplace visits, or interviews.
  7. Employers should allow the employee to return to work upon recovering.
  8. Employers should notify their workers’ compensation board if they suspect an employee has filed a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim.


When you’re informed and prepared for how to deal with a workplace injury, you’ll be more confident and available to help support your valued team members. Learn more about workers’ compensation for small business owners at our library of resources at Workers’ Comp 101.


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