Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, and if you are an employee or an employer in Wisconsin, it’s important to understand the laws in this state. Whether you’ve been injured or are just doing some research, here are seven fast facts you need to know.
1. Most Workers Are Covered
As is the case in most states, independent contractors and freelancers are not covered by workers’ compensation coverage in Wisconsin. However, most employees in the state are covered. Employers have to get coverage if they have three or more employees or if they pay out more than $2,000 in payroll per year.
There are special rules for farmworkers. Their employers only have to cover them if they have six or more employees for at least 20 days throughout the year. Finally, if you’re a federal employee, you’re covered by the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act, rather than the state program.
If your employer is legally obligated to cover you but doesn’t, you can still get benefits. The state has a special Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) just for those situations.
2. You’re Covered From the Parking Lot Through the Work Site
Workers’ compensation coverage does not cover you while you are driving to work, even if you are in a company-owned vehicle. Typically, the coverage starts as soon as you get to the parking lot. For example, if you trip and fall walking into the building, that injury will likely be covered.
Additionally, you are typically covered if you are doing something personal at work such as going to the bathroom or grabbing a cup of coffee. However, if you’re on your break off-site when you get injured, you are generally not covered.
3. Wisconsin Workers’ Comp Covers a Range of Injuries
The workers’ compensation program covers traumatic events such as single accidents that lead to physical or mental trauma. However, it also covers physical and mental injuries that occur over time and occupational diseases.
The program does not cover self-inflicted wounds or injuries sustained due to drinking or taking drugs on the job.
4. Coverage Includes Medical Bills, Lost Wages, and Retraining
If you qualify for workers’ compensation, the coverage pays for your medical bills and physical rehabilitation costs. Beyond that, the program has a wage replacement component, and in Wisconsin, you can even qualify for benefits that allow you to get education and job retraining.
5. Judges Can Order Future Retraining Benefits
Effective in 2016, if you go to court for your workers’ compensation claim, the judge can order the program to cover future retaining costs. That means that you can sign up for an educational program that trains you for a new career, and the workers’ compensation program pays for your tuition, books, meals, and mileage.
This coverage also includes a weekly maintenance benefit, and you can even work part-time up to 24 hours a week without affecting your benefits.
6. There Are Limits to the Amount of Wage Replacement Benefit You Can Receive
Workers’ compensation benefits are equal to two-thirds of the weekly wage you earned at the time of your injury. In many states, this number is based on your average earnings over the last year. The maximum weekly payment is $961 per week for total disability.
If you have a partial disability and you can still work a little, you can receive a maximum of $362 per week. The length of time you can receive benefits varies based on the severity of the injury and the body part injured. Luckily, in most cases, workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable.
7. The Statute of Limitations Varies
In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations varies. For most injuries, you have 12 years to make a claim. However, for traumatic injuries, you only have six years. Ideally, you want to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you make your claim within the allowable period.
If you’ve been injured on the job, let the law offices of Stafford, Neal & Soule, S.C. help. We understand the laws and can help you to get your claim approved. Contact us today.