- Worker’s compensation is a type of insurance that gives benefits to employees who are injured on the job.
- Traumatic injuries and occupational diseases are both covered.
- These benefits may cover medical bills, lost wages, and more.
- Employers and their insurance companies may try to challenge your claims, so work with a lawyer.
When you or a loved one is injured on the job, things can get complicated very quickly. Beyond dealing with the injury itself, which may be life-changing, you might also face financial challenges like lost wages and expensive medical treatment.
At Werner, Hoffman, & Greig, we are fearless defenders of worker’s rights. Our team of experienced worker’s compensation lawyers are ready to guide you through the claims process and advocate on your behalf.
Workers’ Rights and Employer Responsibilities
Millions of workers are injured on the job every year, and these workers are protected by a set of fundamental rights that employers are responsible for observing. The specific rights vary from state to state, but in general:
- Workers have the right to a safe work environment.
- Workers have the right to report injuries or illnesses suffered on the job without fear of retaliation from their employer.
- Workers have the right to medical treatment at their employer’s expense, regardless of fault.
- Workers injured on the job have the right to receive weekly payments to cover lost wages.
- Workers have the right to sue a third party that may have contributed to their injury.
- Workers have a right to death benefits paid out to their loved ones in case they’re killed on the job.
No matter what, if you’re injured on the job, your employer has a legal responsibility to look out for you. They must cooperate with any claims investigations, cannot retaliate against you, and must provide a safer environment in the future.
Definition and Fundamentals of Workers’ Compensation
Worker’s compensation – often referred to as worker’s comp – is a type of employer-provided insurance that pays out benefits to employees who become sick or injured as a result of their job. These benefits can cover medical bills, lost wages, rehab, and other damages caused by their work.
Worker’s compensation insurance is paid for by the employer, not the employee. It’s also a no-fault insurance, meaning that you’re eligible for worker’s compensation no matter who was at fault in the accident or illness.
Injuries and Illnesses Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Any injury or illness that is a direct result of your work can be covered by worker’s compensation. These can be divided into two broad categories: traumatic injuries and occupational diseases.
- Traumatic injuries are caused suddenly by specific events. Examples include slips and falls, machinery accidents, broken bones, lacerations, or crushing injuries.
- Occupational diseases develop over time from exposure to the conditions of the job. Examples include carpal tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries, asbestosis, cancer or other diseases from chemical exposure, or hearing loss.
The specifics vary from state to state, so be sure to check with a qualified worker’s compensation attorney to assess your situation.
Coverage Available for Injured Parties
Worker’s compensation includes a wide range of benefits available to injured workers, designed to help you cope with the physical, mental, and financial strain associated with a work-related injury or illness. Coverage can include:
- Medical costs such as hospitalization, medication, rehab, or aid devices.
- Lost wages that you’re unable to earn while injured or ill.
- Disability benefits after receiving temporary or permanent disabilities.
- Vocational rehabilitation to help injured workers adapt to injuries and learn new skills.
- And more, speak with your attorney about what else you may qualify for.
The Claims Process
The specific details vary from state to state, and specific details often matter a lot in a claims process. For the best chances of success in your worker’s compensation claim, it’s important to follow the procedures laid out in your state.
Broadly speaking, the process usually looks like this:
- Report the injury or illness to your employer right away – this is key for a successful claim!
- Seek medical attention.
- File a worker’s compensation claim with your state’s worker’s compensation agency.
- Keep detailed records of all medical expenses and lost wages.
- If necessary, appear in court before a worker’s compensation judge.
One extra step we highly recommend: working with an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer.
Common Challenges in Workers’ Compensation Claims
Insurance companies make more profits the less they pay out in claims, so it can be challenging to secure the compensation you’re owed for your workplace injury. Here are some common challenges faced in the worker’s compensation claim process.
- Proving work-relatedness: Employers often claim that an injury or illness happened outside of work or due to preexisting conditions. A worker’s compensation claim must demonstrate a clear connection between the work or workplace environment and the harm suffered.
- Proving the extent of the injury: Insurance companies may attempt to limit the benefits they provide by minimizing the extent of the injury suffered.
- Navigating complex legal systems: The worker’s compensation system can be complex and bureaucratic, and insurance companies will sometimes use this to their advantage. They may request unnecessary documentation or dispute medical records.
- Filing without adequate representation: It may be tempting to try to file a claim yourself, but it’s all too easy to get bogged down in paperwork details and deadlines. Attempting to navigate this process without a lawyer can make it harder to win a claim.
Contact WHG to Speak with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer ASAP
If you’ve been injured on the job, you deserve the support you need to recover and get back on your feet. Contact Werner, Hoffman & Greig and start the claims process right away. Or, call us at .
Our passionate team of lawyers has the experience and skills necessary to get your case over the finish line.
FAQ about Workers Comp Claims
How long do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
In most states, you have about two years from the date of injury to file a worker’s compensation claim, but the specifics vary. For instance, the time limit is two years in Florida, three years in New York, and one year in Texas and Louisiana.
What do I do if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
If your worker’s compensation claim is denied, don’t worry. You have the right to appeal.
A qualified worker’s compensation attorney can assess your claim and advise you on the best way to proceed with your appeal.
Am I eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim?
If you’ve suffered a work-related illness or injury, you’re probably eligible. One key exception: if you were using alcohol or drugs at the time of your injury.