We have reached the final state in the Union—final, of course, not in the quality of the state but in the alphabetical sense. I can hear a collective sigh of relief from my loyal readers. “No more injury reporting!” I can hear you say. OK, wise guys. Sure, we are done with the topic for now for most of you.
But if you are a Wyoming employer with injured employees, then you are not sighing in relief at the sight of the words “Wyoming Injury Reporting for Workers’ Comp.” No, you just sat up in your seat if you are a Wyoming employer, because you are either in search of the truth on the topic, or just want o make sure you have all your facts straight when it comes to reporting an employee injury to the state and insurance officials.
And here comes the truth. First and foremost, it is up to the employee who is injured to report their accident to you within 72 hours of the actual injury. You then can help your employee to fill out a Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation form within 10 days of the incident.
This form is different than the real first notice of injury. The first notice of injury—the one that must be made within 72 hours of the injury—just goes to you the employer. The second notice and the Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation form that must be done within 10 days goes to the Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation office, which can be done locally. Or the form can be sent in to the state office.
This form is not an actual claim in Wyoming. It just acts as a notification of the injury. A claim for benefits is separate and must be filled out when an employee seeks medical care costs or lost wages due to disability.
The workers’ comp system in Wyoming is in line for a change. Just this past summer, in July, the Department of Employment in Wyoming announced a “Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules and Regulations,” which basically was a statement of the department’s intent to modify the workers’ comp rules and regulations.
Part of the change is the department in Wyoming wants to change the fee schedule for workers’ comp, meaning they want to change the amount of money injured workers get depending on what type of disability. Remember, we touched upon this topic in other blogs on other states. Basically, there is partial permanent disabilities, meaning that the employee’s injury affected them for the rest of their lives though the worker is still able to return to work in some capacity.
There is also total permanent disability, whereby the injury was severe enough that the worker will never be able to return to work in any capacity. There is also total temporary disability, meaning that a person is injured and cannot return to work for some time after the accident but will return to work eventually.
Another facet of the change to the workers’ comp system in Wyoming could be that employers get a discount on what they have to pay on these fee rates. This discount is in an amount that will not be more than 5 percent of the base rate of the given injured employee’s classification. And the discount is contingent upon the employer agreeing to voluntarily carry out and follow a drug and alcohol testing program that was being designed and encouraged by the state o Wyoming’s Department of Employment.
This new change to how workers’ comp was done in Wyoming did not end up going through back in the summer, so employers in the state, stay tuned to see if the revision to the law eventually gets carried out.
During my recent research into individual states’ Workers’ Compensation laws, I paid special attention to the Workers’ Compensation Laws in Wyoming. According to the Wyoming law, workers’ compensation needs to be provided by all employers that are engaged in fields that are termed to be extra-hazardous. When an employer is required to provide Workers’ Compensation, the employer basically provides full insurance for all employees.
If an employer is not in an extra-hazardous field in Wyoming, then the system of Workers’ Compensation provisions is optional. However, the employer should know that he has two options when it comes to potential workplace injuries: providing workers’ compensation insurance, or potentially being subjected to civil litigation if an injured employee sues.
In Wyoming, waivers are not permitted for Workers’ Compensation. However, the insurance is provided by the state, unless the employer wants to fund it privately.
Keep in mind that while most employers are advised to provide their employees with workers’ compensation insurance benefits, there are certain situations where workers’ compensation may not arise. For example, domestic workers, such as housekeepers, do not have to be covered under the terms of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Likewise, if an employee is engaged in “power farming”, or farming that is done through the use of equipment such as motor vehicles, then the employee is covered if one or more of the workers are employed for an average of six months per year.
Also, it is up to the states to decide who finds the doctors for the injured employees. According to the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Act, the employee makes the initial choice of physician. Full medical benefits are then provided to the employees if the employee is entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. There is no time or monetary limit for an injured worker to recover.