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Updated: April 26, 2024

Unraveling Wyoming's workers' compensation Insurance rules for employers and employees

Published By:

Jon Davis

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For the majority of Wyoming employers, workers’ compensation coverage is a must. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of workers’ compensation, including which businesses need to have coverage, who is exempt from purchasing a policy, and what workers’ compensation insurance covers in Wyoming.

How does workers’ comp protect employers and employees?

Simply put, workers’ compensation insurance is important coverage for Wyoming employers because it covers medical expenses and other benefits for employees who are injured on the job. But workers’ compensation can also make a difference for employers, protecting them from costly penalties while shielding them from costly litigation due to injuries suffered by employees.

 

Now that we better understand how a policy can be beneficial for both employees and employers, let’s find out more about who needs to have this coverage.

Which businesses are required to have workers’ compensation insurance?

Most employers in the state are required to carry workers’ compensation to protect their employees. Any new business in Wyoming is required to register their business with the state, which registers your business with Wyoming Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance.

 

Once your business is registered, the Division of Workers’ Compensation will determine whether your business is required to provide workers’ compensation to its employees or whether workers’ comp coverage is optional. The registration requirement applies to any business operating in Wyoming including independent contractors and sole proprietors, even if workers’ compensation insurance is not required.

 

Once registered, the state assigns a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code to your business and assigns you a base rate based on your assigned industry.

Are there any exceptions?

Under Wyoming statutes, all employees are required to be covered. However, there are exceptions for those not considered an employee under Wyoming law, including:

 

Some exceptions to know
  • Casual laborers
  • Partners in a business partnership
  • An officer of a corporation
  • Independent contractors
  • Professional athletes
  • Domestic staff employed in a private household
  • Private duty nurses
  • Employees of the federal government
  • Volunteers
  • Elected or appointed officials
  • Owner/operator of a motor vehicle which is leased for hire or as a common carrier
  • Members of a limited liability company
  • Foster parents
  • Individuals providing day care or baby sitting services who are paid by the Wyoming Department of Family Services
  • Brokers, associate brokers, or real estate salespeople
  • Volunteers

 

Again, it’s important to note that even if the entity is listed as exempt, they still have to register their business with the State of Wyoming.

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What does workers’ compensation cover in Wyoming?

Workers’ compensation insurance coverage in Wyoming offers multiple benefits for employees injured while on the job.

 

Medical treatment

Any employee injured on the job in Wyoming is entitled to receive medical treatment for that injury. Injured employees are entitled to numerous benefits including emergency treatment and any follow-up care required, prescription medication, surgery when deemed necessary, and travel expenses related to receiving medical care including mileage, meals, and lodging.

 

Temporary total disability payments

If an employee is temporarily unable to return to work after an injury, they can apply to receive total temporary disability payments. There is a waiting period of three days to receive payments.

 

Permanent partial impairment benefits

If an employee is unable to return to work, they may qualify for permanent partial impairment benefits, with the amount of benefit directly related to the injury suffered. The permanent partial impairment benefit is separate from the permanent partial disability payments a worker may also be eligible for. The permanent partial impairment benefit is paid monthly until the award is paid in full.

 

Permanent partial disability payments

Also known as a ‘loss of earnings’ benefit, this benefit is available to injured workers as an alternative to vocational rehabilitation benefits. The benefit total is calculated based on the injured employee’s age, education, and career plans, and may be paid in a lump sum.

 

Vocational rehabilitation benefits

If an employee is unable to return to their previous job due to injury, they may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits which may include a formal education program, on-the-job training, vocational counseling, and job placement services.

 

Permanent total disability benefits

If an employee is unable to return to work of any type, they may be eligible to receive permanent total disability benefits which can be paid monthly or as a lump sum payment.

 

Death and burial expenses

In the event that a worker dies from a work-related injury, survivor benefits may be paid to a spouse, unmarried or dependent children, or dependent parents. Funeral expenses up to $10,000 may also be paid.

How can Wyoming employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance?

All workers’ compensation insurance coverage is purchased through the Wyoming State Fund. Upon registering with the state fund, employers are notified whether they’re required to purchase workers’ compensation coverage. If they are required to purchase coverage, the employer is notified by the state what their premium will be. Wyoming does not offer an option for employers to self-insure.

 

What are the penalties for not purchasing workers’ compensation insurance?

Businesses that go without workers’ compensation coverage in Wyoming may face some unfavorable outcomes. For example, a company could:

 

  • Faces a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison.
  • Non-compliant employers may also be liable for an employee’s medical costs, lost wages, and legal fees resulting from an on-the-job injury.

What happens when an employee is injured?  

Any time an employee is injured on the job, they must notify their supervisor immediately, seeking immediate medical attention if required. Employees have up to 72 hours to notify their employee about an injury.

 

Once an employer is notified about an employee’s injury, they must file the Division of Workers’ Compensation Report of Injury form. This form must be filed within ten business days after the injury is reported. It is suggested that both the employee and the employer work together to complete this form, which must be signed by both parties before submitting for review.

 

Injured employees have one year after the injury occurs (or when a diagnosis is received) to file a workers’ compensation claim for that injury. If the injury is the result of exposure to an on-the-job hazard, employees must file their claim within three years from the date of last exposure.

 

Can employees use their own physician for on-the-job injuries?

Any employee that is injured on the job or becomes ill as a result of exposure to a chemical hazard or other environmental issue has the right to choose their own physician for treatment. However, once a physician has been chosen, if the employee wishes to change medical providers, they must first request authorization.

 

More resources for Wyoming employers

For additional information on Wyoming workers’ compensation insurance requirements, contact the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services – Division of Workers’ Compensation at 307-777-7441. Links to additional resources are below.

 

Why it’s so important for Wyoming employers to have the proper workers’ compensation coverage

Having workers’ compensation coverage in place protects Wyoming employers from potential costly litigation as well as state-imposed penalties. Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, protects employees if an on-the-job injury occurs. If you have any questions regarding workers’ compensation coverage, we can help guide you in the right direction.

 

Please note all material in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute tax, benefits or legal advice. You should always contact a qualified tax, legal or financial professional, in your area for comprehensive tax or legal advice.

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Jon Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at OnPay. He has over 15 years of experience writing for small and growing businesses. Jon lives and works in Atlanta.