Previously, we talked about the importance of an employer being covered by workers’ compensation in the case of an accident at the office. Workers’ compensation gives both employers and employees coverage in regards to financial and medical aid if an accident leading to injury happens at the office. It is important to keep up to date on the latest workers’ compensation laws, as employers need to make sure they know what to do when dealing with claims.
North Carolina legislators have recently made a few changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Of particular interest are changes in the “Willful Misrepresentation In Applying For Employment” section, which details the circumstances in which compensation for an injured employee would be barred. Grounds for barring compensation include:
- An employee knowingly and willfully making a false representation as to his physical condition.
- An employer relying on the false representation as a substantial factor in hiring said employee.
- A causal connection between the false representation and the injury or occupational disease.
In light of these changes, employers should make sure that they implement internal policies for the hiring of new employees, with regards to current medical condition and the physical mandates of the position. If no such policy is in place, there are several steps an employer can take:
- Conduct research for examples of solid internal hiring policies.
- Add a confidential post-offer, pre-placement medical questionnaire as part of the company’s hiring practices.
- Brief HR personnel on any new workers’ compensation procedures in the hiring process.
These simple measures can save an employer’s experience modification rate and workers’ compensation loss ratio. Before implementing any new procedures, however, it is recommended that an employer consult on these matters with an attorney. Knowing the specifics of workers’ compensation and any changes in state law will save a company both time and money.
Photo Credit: Flickr User wools
These economic times are trying for workers in every industry – especially construction. Contractors have to find work wherever they can. Oftentimes this means leaving their hometowns to travel out of state to obtain contracts. The problem is when contractors cross state lines, gaps in their insurance policies may surface.
Every state has its own statutory laws regarding benefits to injured workers and specific requirements for required coverages. Leaving your home state, you may enter a state with laws different from the ones that dictated your policy. In some states, sections require that you list specific states on your compensation policy to avoid being fined for noncompliance. These fees can amount to hundreds of dollars.
So, how can you avoid these gaps in coverage and the penalties associated with noncompliance? Before you enter into any contract out of state, discuss the coverage that you currently have with your insurance agent. Understanding the availability of your insurance carrier to provide coverage out of state will help to reduce the aforementioned gaps.
Remember that agents review your policy on a quarterly basis, and these intervals are good times to discuss possible changes in your travel schedule and home address as well as coverages provided by national versus regional insurance carriers.
Photo source: Jason Riedy
There is no getting around it – every work site needs to have adequate insurance coverage. Workers, subcontractors, general contractors and site owners need different insurance products to protect the different aspects of the work they perform.
General contractors often ask their subcontractors to sign contracts that ensure the protection of their company against lawsuits should an accident occur on the worksite. The purpose of these contracts is twofold. First, the contract makes certain that the subcontractor working on the site, whether overseeing installation of flooring, electrical, HVAC, etc., has the resources to pay a claim that may be made against them. Secondly, the contracts have various legal requirements such as, indemnification, hold harmless, waiver of subrogation and additional named insured wording in favor of the general contractor.
Where the Problem Lies
While these contracts can insure against a range of potential issues, there is no one-size-fits-all contract that protects all parties from all situations. Subsequently, these contracts need to be updated frequently to account for new, expired and obsolete insurance products. While some insurance coverage may no longer be applicable to specific carriers, some may be dead to the industry as a whole.
Building a Solution
In order to ensure that your contracts are legally bonding and as up-to-date as possible, it is important that you bring an insurance professional into the contract agreement. Your agent will be able to tell you if you have the appropriate products in your contract to protect yourself and others on the site. It is difficult enough to keep a job site on schedule and within budget. The last thing you need on site is for an accident to occur and to be liable for negligent acts that were caused by your subcontractors.
Call your insurance agent today to make sure that you have the coverage you need, that your contracts are current and serve the purpose that they were designed to handle.
Image: Wayne National Forest