Delaware law requires businesses that have employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are some exceptions.
Every business that has employees must have workers’ compensation insurance to operate in Delaware.
This requirement covers corporate officers as well as employees. However, up to eight corporate officers can opt out of workers’ comp coverage at any one company.
In most cases, Delaware business owners do not have to be included in their company’s workers’ comp insurance plan. The two exceptions are if:
If either of those two situations applies, you can still include yourself in your workers’ comp policy. This might be warranted if you’re exposed to significant on-the-job risks and believe the cost of acquiring insurance is worth the protection you’ll receive.
Although the vast majority of Delaware employees must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, some types of workers are exempt, including:
Delaware business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. (Insureon offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.) If they’re unable to qualify, they can buy it from the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Insurance Plan, the state’s insurance provider for high-risk businesses.
Delaware employers also have the option to self-insure their workers’ compensation claims. This means they’ll pay for their own workers’ comp medical and rehabilitation costs rather than submit them to an insurance carrier.
Estimated workers’ comp expense for Delaware employers is $1.47 per $100 in covered payroll, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance [PDF].
If you fail to provide Delaware workers’ comp insurance as required by law, you may be fined an amount equal to the insurance premium you should have paid, times three, for one year.
If an employee dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, death benefits can be awarded to the surviving spouse, children, and other dependents.
In Delaware, any person who was financially dependent on the deceased employee may file for workers’ comp benefits. If the worker was totally responsible for supporting the dependent, the death benefit would equal two-thirds of the person’s average pay. However, if the deceased worker was less than 100% responsible for supporting dependents, then the weekly death benefit would decrease.
For example, if the worker provided for 60% of a family’s income and his or her spouse provided for the remaining 40%, then the weekly death benefit would be 60% of the worker’s pre-injury or illness weekly pay. All eligible dependents would share this benefit.
Death benefits are available to survivors for a minimum of five years and a maximum of 12 years, depending on the situation. Benefits may sometimes run longer in cases where a child was disabled before the worker died or when children are still in school (to age 18) or enrolled full-time in post-secondary accredited education (to age 23).
In cases where the beneficiary is someone other than a surviving spouse or child, benefits are limited to a fixed dollar amount, which is revised annually.
The estates of Delaware workers are eligible to receive $7,000 for funeral expenses. This is paid regardless of whether the deceased worker had dependents.
A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement between the parties that will resolve a workers’ compensation claim. This benefits both the employee and the employer. A settlement in a workers’ compensation claim is a full and final resolution.
Settlements aren’t mandatory for employees. However, if the worker has reached maximum medical recovery or will not need additional treatment, he or she can agree to accept a lump sum in exchange for closing the claim. Every Delaware workers’ compensation settlement must go before the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation, which enforces the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
The statute of limitations for filing an initial workers’ comp claim is two years in case of injury and one year from the time the employee learned that he or she had contracted an occupational disease. In Delaware, employees are required to report workplace injuries within 10 days and then file a workers’ compensation claim within 90 days.
If you are ready to explore workers’ comp insurance options for your Delaware business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from top-rated carriers.