What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides benefits for employees who are injured or become ill due to work. Workers’ compensation programs are run by each state, so there are some variations. But they generally have three parts: medical care, temporary disability payments, and permanent disability payments. Employers may also have medical insurance for their employees as part of their health care benefits package.
If you are injured at work—or your job causes an injury—it is important that you contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. A good workers’ compensation attorney can help you recover damages from your employer or other parties that contributed to injury or illness.
Talk with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today about the options needed after being injured on the job.
Here are some of the commonly asked questions about worker’s compensation.
My doctor has told me that I cannot work for two months. How am I going to get ahead?
If your doctor has said that you are unable to work as a result of injuries sustained in a work-related accident. Then, you should apply for and receive wage benefits for your “temporary total disability.”
Workers’ compensation laws allow payment of 66% of the average weekly wage based on your earnings during the 52 weeks prior to accident.
If you feel that you are not being paid the correct percentage of compensation. We recommend that you speak with our firm as soon as possible.
Now that I am disabled, how will I be able to hire an attorney?
In workers ‘compensation cases, all attorneys’ fees are paid by a commissioner, and are paid from your benefits. The maximum percentage that an attorney can receive in such a case is 20%. The Workers’ Compensation Commission may order that legal fees be set in percentages depending on the case and the circumstances. Generally, the workers’ compensation insurance company is the one that pays the attorney’s fees.
I fear being fired if I file a workers’ compensation claim. Do I have to apply for workers’ compensation benefits?
You and your witnesses cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you feel that you could be fired, seek the help of a qualified workers’ compensation attorney before you claim. If you have been fired for filing a claim, then you already need an attorney.
Do you really need to hire an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim?
You are not required to have a worker’s compensation attorney and you can represent yourself. The employer / company has to be represented by a lawyer. It is your decision to hire a worker’s compensation attorney. However, you will find yourself at a disadvantage without legal representation.
It is much better to hire someone who knows what they are doing. Protect your rights so you don’t lose your case just because you weren’t aware of a deadline or legal complexity.
I was injured in a traffic accident when I was a passenger in my supervisor’s car. My supervisor admits that the accident was 100% his fault. Can I file a lawsuit against him for his admitted negligence?
No. Workers’ compensation is the only remedy in this situation. Workers’ compensation laws prevent workers from suing their employers and also prevent injured workers from suing their co-workers.
They also prevent injured workers from suing other companies and employees who are in the same business, sector, or occupation as the injured worker.
I filed a claim on my own and have now received a remittance of the court file. What does this mean?
Simply put, this means that you are going to court. The employer or insurance company has notified the Workers’ Compensation Commission that some part of your claim has not been accepted. As a result, an acting judge from the Workers’ Compensation Commission will be appointed to conduct the hearing.
A hearing will be scheduled for your case in the near future. You will find yourself at a tremendous disadvantage if you try to face the lawsuit on your own. I recommend that you hire a qualified attorney to represent you at trial.
I broke my ankle at work and my employer knows that I cannot work. How long can it take for me to start collecting my workers’ compensation benefits?
There is no easy answer to this question because various problems could arise while you wait to start collecting your benefits. Typically, it takes about two weeks for payment of benefit checks to begin. Under Workers’ Compensation law, you must be disabled for seven days before you can qualify for any wage replacement benefits. The salary benefits start from the eighth day. If you are disabled for more than 21 days, the workers’ compensation insurance company is responsible for paying the seven days of compensation.
I notified my employer of my accident and my injuries. How can I receive medical treatment?
As an injured worker, you have certain responsibilities under Workers’ Compensation law. The same can be said for your employer. After your employer receives notification that you have been injured on the job, your employer must give you a list of three doctors. You are required to select a doctor from the list to treat you.
Assuming the workers’ compensation claim is accepted, or settled as compensable, your employer will be obligated to pay 100% of the costs of your reasonable and necessary medical treatment.
You have an obligation under Workers’ Compensation law to cooperate fully with your medical treatment, which includes going to your medical visits and following the advice of your treating physician.
Your workers’ compensation benefits may be suspended if you refuse to fully cooperate with your medical treatment.
What benefits are available to an injured worker?
As an injured worker, you have the right to the following:
- Medical Benefits: You are entitled to payment for all your medical expenses, including travel, translation, home health care, transportation, and durable medical supplies. This may also include reasonable and necessary remodeling of your home to accommodate your disability up to the maximum legal limits. You are entitled to lifetime assistance for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses caused by your work injury.
- Temporary Total Disability: You can receive 66% of your average weekly salary calculated by the average of your salary in the 52 weeks prior to your work accident. There are legal maximum limits for this benefit.
- Temporary Partial disability: In the event that you return to work earning less or working fewer hours, you are entitled to 66% of the difference between your pre-accident and post-accident wages.
- Permanent Partial Disability: Once your treating physician says that you have achieved maximum medical improvement, the physician may provide you with the disability rating for the affected body part. Depending on which part of your body was injured, the value of your disability can be calculated under Workers’ Compensation law.
- Total permanent disability: Workers’ Compensation law establishes a maximum of 500 weeks of compensation. If you are completely disabled, you may qualify for permanent total disability that provides compensation for life.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: In the event that you are unable to return to employment, your employer is responsible for offering you vocational rehabilitation so that you can be retrained or for finding you a job within its limitations.
What should I do if the insurance company has hired a nurse in charge of the case?
Nurse case managers are used in workers’ compensation claims to provide the insurance company with eyes and ears during medical consultations for injured workers.
If you ask the case nurse to leave the exam room, you are obligated to leave. If the nurse in charge wants to speak with the doctor, this can be done at another time. The key points to keep in mind is that the nurse in charge of the case does not have the right to be present during your consultation with the doctor.
Your doctor must have all conversations with the charge nurse in your presence and you have the right to request that this be the case.