What A Lizard Bite Taught One Person About Worker’s Compensation
By Ryan Velez
A small lizard’s bite may seem like a little thing to miss, but Nav writer Hannah L. Rounds has shared how this one incident can be a valuable lesson about worker’s comp and you. After her Wal-Mart shift manager directed her to HR, she explains the small thing the HR rep did that put her at ease.
“In the office the HR representative had me fill out the report. She asked me if I needed to visit urgent care. I told her that I wasn’t too worried. She went on to explain my right to workers’ compensation insurance: “I’m serious. If you need medical attention, Wal-Mart will pay. That’s your right, you know.”
I assured her that I was fine, and I went back to work. Still, I felt thankful that my employer took the time to explain my rights.”
If you run a business, this is something you’re likely going to want to think about. By law, employers who employ five or more workers are required to buy workers’ comp insurance, with the major exception of farm owners. This suite of business insurance coverage has multiple purposes: covering medical care for injuries or illnesses caused at work, and replacing income those employees lost if they must miss work.
While worker’s comp does cover retraining costs and compensation for permanent injuries, it is not the same as health, disability, or life insurance, and cannot be considered a replacement for any of them. Large companies train managers on how to handle potential workers’ compensation claims.
Rounds mentions that worker’s comp favors the employees, and also has another personal story on what happens for those without such protections. This took place when she worked at an Italian restaurant as a high-schooler.
“I told the cook to sauce the plate. He whipped around with a ladle full of steaming marinara and poured it all over the food and my arm. Tomatoes and olive oil seared my skin.
Holding in a scream of pain, I set down the plates and ran my arm under cold water. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” the cook said over and over.
Meanwhile, our manager cleaned the plates and took them out to the waiting customers. She helped me make an ice bag and sent me home with some burn cream. She didn’t suggest a trip to urgent care; she didn’t fill out a form to document the incident.
I had the right to medical attention, but my manager didn’t mention it. To be honest, I don’t think my manager or I knew about workers’ comp. Her job was to run the restaurant, not to deal with workers’ comp.
Knowing what I know now, in a similar situation, I would ask my manager to type up and sign an incident report so that, if I sought medical attention, the company would compensate me for it later.”