We can’t drive this important point home enough—it is crucial for your workers’ comp claims to be reported as soon as possible, starting with when your employees first get injured or sick at work. Such is the case with many states that we’ve already looked at, and such is the case with this state in particular, Idaho.
Your employees have to be aware of three important things in Idaho in order to get a workers’ comp claim started off right. The first is that they must notify you as soon as possible after they get injured or detect that they may have a job related illness or condition. There’s an important distinction to make here too. One of their coworkers does not count as you. When we say they must notify you, it is either you directly or their immediate supervisor or manager.
The second thing that your employees must remember is that you and your insurance company for workers’ comp have control over which physicians they are allowed to go to for medical treatment for work related illnesses and injuries. The doctor is a key part of the workers’ comp claims process. The documentation that they can provide to your employees and you can go a long way to getting payments started for medical care and for lost pay compensation.
The third thing they should remember is that even if they don’t need any medical treatment for some sort of accident that might be related to work, they should still tell you about it.
When it comes to your responsibilities during this early time right after a worker is injured on the job at your company, as the employer you have to fill out a special form, called a First Report of Injury or Illness form, which you then send in to the State Insurance Fund.
We’ve talked about all of the different requirements so far in several states across the Union when it comes to whether or not employers have to have workers’ comp coverage for their employees. But we haven’t yet talked about what happens if an employer is supposed to have workers’ comp coverage, but doesn’t. A look at Idaho’s workers’ comp laws will give us a great chance to do just that.
In Idaho, one of the first things that can happen to you the employer if one of your employees gets hurt and you don’t have workers’ comp for them is that you could be personally liable to cover the difference. That means that the costs of the medical care and their lost wages could come right out of your wallet. What’s more, you could also have to pay up for a 10 percent penalty on top of the medical and wage lost compensation, as well as the attorney fees for the injured worker.
These penalties don’t include the fees that the state of Idaho can levy against employers who fail to have workers’ comp insurance when appropriate. The state can fine an employer without appropriate workers’ comp up to $2 per day per employee, or $25 per day flat, whichever sum is more.
On top of that, the Idaho Workers’ Compensation Law gives the state the power to launch a lawsuit in the district court if the employer doesn’t have workers’ comp coverage when needed. This lawsuit’s purpose would be to get an injunction from the court to stop the employer from operating their business while they are still in violation of that workers’ comp law.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you that workers’ comp is important to know about in the state of Idaho, failure to follow the workers’ comp law in the state is considered a misdemeanor for the employer, and if found guilty of the crime, you the company owner could be subject to criminal penalties.
Idaho’s workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault insurance policy, which provides wage loss and medical benefits to employees with a job-related injury or disease. Nearly every working Idahoan is protected by workers’ compensation insurance, as state law requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance.
I understand that if an employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, the worker is covered from their first day of work. If a worker suffers a job-related injury or disease, he should:
- Tell the employer immediately when, where, and how the injury happened. If possible, help fill out the “First Report of Injury or Illness” form. The employer should file this notice with the Industrial Commission.
- Seek first aid and medical care, and tell the medical care provider that the injury or disease is job-related. The employer may have a designated physician for treating all work-related diseases or injuries except for emergency care. Ask the employer before seeking medical treatment.
My research shows that as part of the compensation plan, workers can expect to receive:
- “Reasonable and necessary” medical care to treat job-related injury or disease. Such care usually includes, but is not limited to, payment for emergency medical care, doctor bills, x-rays, medications, hospitalization, crutches, and some travel expenses required for medical care.
- Temporary or total disability benefits until they are released to return to work. If an employee is able to return to part-time or modified work while still recovering from an injury, they may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits.
- If a worker dies of a job-related injury or disease, their surviving spouse usually receives benefits for 500 weeks, and children (up to a maximum of 3) ordinarily receive benefits until they are 18 years of age.
Idaho’s Workers’ Compensation Law does not require an employer to hold an employee’s job or rehire him after he recovers from injury or disease. However, Rehabilitation Consultants with the Idaho Industrial Commission can provide return-to-work assistance.
I understand that every employer who has obtained workers’ compensation insurance must post and maintain a notice stating that he has complied with the law in his place of business. The notice must contain the name and address of the insurance company with which the employer has secured payment of compensation. Failing to post and keep such a notice conspicuously displayed may be grounds for a misdemeanor charge. The Idaho Complete Labor Law poster is available with an area specifically for this information.
The Idaho Industrial Commission is the state agency, which administers the Idaho Workers’ Compensation Law.