Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation

wisconsin worker's compensation text overlaying image of madison skyline If you run a business and have employees, you’ll need to purchase Wisconsin workers’ compensation insurance. In fact, this type of insurance is a requirement in most states, including Wisconsin, with some exceptions. It helps pay your employees’ medical bills if they sustain an injury on the job. And limits your liability for workplace accidents, is a requirement in most states, including Wisconsin, with some exceptions.

Businesses in Wisconsin can expect to pay an estimated $1.63 for every $100 of covered payroll in workers’ compensation insurance. That means, for example, a business with a total annual payroll of $100,000 will pay around $1,630 annually, or around $135 a month for coverage. These rates can vary, though, based on multiple factors.

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In general, workers’ compensation rates are based on how likely it is that an accident will occur at your workplace. When applying for your policy, you can classify different employees with different class codes to make sure you’re paying the right amount. For example, some office workers may have lower workers’ compensation costs than those who perform more labor-intensive tasks and are exposed to greater risk.


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What’s Covered

If one of your employees is injured at work or becomes ill because of workplace conditions. Workers’ compensation in Wisconsin can help pay for their medical bills. The weekly average wage of an employee is used to calculate workers’ compensation benefits. The type of claim determines the exact amount.

The most important thing that workers’ compensation does is offer coverage for your injured employee’s medical treatment. This would include doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, and surgical procedures. Following a return to work, an employee may need ongoing care. Such as follow-up appointments or extra surgeries; workers’ compensation will also cover these medical bills.

Additionally, if the incident causes permanent or temporary disability, the employee will receive compensation in the form of weekly or lump sum payments. If your employee suffers a temporary disability, their injury is preventing them from performing their regular job while they recover. They have a permanent disability if a doctor determines that they will not fully recover from their injury. 

These two classifications fall into two subcategories:

  1. Temporary total disability (TTD) – These payments will be made if your employee is unable to work at all during their recovery.
  2. Temporary partial disability (TPD) – TPD payments will be made if your employee is still able to work, but with certain restrictions, such as requiring lighter duties or fewer hours. Even if your company does not provide work that meets these requirements, the employee may still be eligible for these payments.
  3. Permanent total disability (PTD) – If the accident or illness leaves your employee unable to work at all, even after recovery, they will be eligible for PTD payments.
  4. Permanent partial disability (PPD) – If an employee has permanent impairments but is able to work with those impairments, they will be eligible for PPD.


Wisconsin’s Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

Under Wisconsin law, the surviving spouse, children, and other dependents of a Wisconsin employee who has died as a result of a job-related injury or illness may be eligible for a death benefit, including:

  • Weekly payments made to those who relied financially on the employee
  • Coverage for burial costs

Wholly dependent family members, such as a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner, or surviving children under the age of 18 or who are physically or mentally disabled, will qualify for death benefits first.

Only when there are no wholly dependent family members will other partially dependent family members qualify for death benefits. The total death benefits payable to all beneficiaries cannot exceed four times the deceased employee’s annual salary. In addition, workers’ compensation insurance must cover burial expenses up to $10,000 under state law.


Wisconsin’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

Wisconsin requires workers’ compensation insurance coverage for almost all employees. Full-time employees, part-time employees, family members, and minors are all considered employees, and will require coverage.

Despite the fact that the Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Act calls for nearly universal coverage, the state allows for a few exemptions based on the type of work performed. The workers’ comp requirement does not include:

  • Domestic workers
  • Volunteers, including those in nonprofit organizations, who are paid in cash or other items worth $10 or less per week
  • Members of a religious sect
  • Employees of Native American tribal enterprises (including casinos), unless the tribe chooses to waive sovereign immunity and voluntarily participate in state workers’ compensation
  • The majority of real estate brokers, agents, and salespeople
  • Certain federal employees who are covered by federal workers’ compensation programs.


How to Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Wisconsin, you can buy a workers’ compensation insurance policy from a private insurance carrier that is licensed by the state to offer workers’ compensation insurance. 

If you are unable to get workers’ comp from a private insurer because your business is considered high-risk, you can obtain insurance from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau. This last-resort coverage is available through an insurance agent.

If you meet certain criteria, you might be able to self-insure your workers’ compensation claims. This means you will pay any workers’ compensation claims out-of-pocket as they arise, instead of paying premiums and submitting claims to an insurance company.

If you need help finding a policy, Ez’s agents can help sort through all of your options, and find you the best workers’ comp insurance for your business.

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How to Get the Most Savings

The majority of the cost of workers’ compensation comes from factors beyond your control. However, there are still ways to save. Implementing a safety program is a great way to reduce workplace injuries and claims, which will lower your premiums. So regardless of your industry, it is important to have safety and standard operating procedures in place. Employees who have safety training are less vulnerable to injuries, lowering your workers’ compensation costs.

It is also a good idea to regularly review your claims history. Evaluating your claims history on a regular basis can help you identify and correct patterns. You might discover that certain aspects of your business operations are frequently causing claims. This allows you to adjust the operation to make it safer. You can save money by keeping an eye on potentially dangerous operations.

Correctly classifying your employees is one of the most effective ways to save money. When you apply for your workers’ compensation policy, you will classify each of your employees depending on their job’s risk. And this risk classification influences the cost of your workers’ compensation. For example, you might pay less to insure an office worker than you would a manual laborer. It’s also important to correctly classify your employees because you may receive a fine if you fail to do so.

Begin a free online application today to compare workers’ compensation insurance quotes for your small business from leading U.S. insurers. EZ’s agents specialize in insurance for a wide range of small businesses. Working with our agents can save you hundreds of dollars a year on coverage.


Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation FAQs

  • Are you required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Wisconsin?

Yes, nearly all Wisconsin employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. It is a serious crime to violate Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation statute. If you do not comply, you may be subject to one or more of the following penalties:

    • A fine of twice the insurance premiums you should have paid during the uninsured period, or $750, whichever is greater.
    • In some cases, a $100 penalty for each uninsured day up to seven days
    • Closure of your business, and suspension of all operations
  • How do workers’ compensation settlements work in Wisconsin?

The majority of workers’ compensation claims in Wisconsin result in settlements. This means that all parties involved – you, your injured worker, and your insurance company – agree on a lump-sum settlement amount in exchange for the employee (or the employee’s survivors) agreeing not to seek future benefits.

Coverage for past or future medical bills may be included in settlement amounts. Employer penalties for things like safety violations, payment delays, or bad faith may also be included.

The settlement agreement, which must be written and signed by the injured or ill worker, a representative of your business, and your insurance company, must be filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and approved by one of its judges.

  • What is the statute of limitations in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, employees who are injured at work must file a workers’ compensation claim no later than two years after the injury, or within 12 years if the employer was aware of the injury (or should have been aware).


Why Use EZ

We do everything in our power to make shopping for workers’ compensation insurance as easy and stress-free as possible. And we give each of our customers our undivided attention. As soon as you fill out our form, you will receive instant, free quotes from your dedicated agent. Who will give you personalized service and will work to understand your needs. We want to ensure that you get the best coverage at the best price. Our services are completely free so check out your quotes today!

If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-670-3538. You will speak to a local insurance agent who can answer all of your questions. And help you find the workers’ compensation policy that works best for your business.

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About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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