While working at your place of employment, you injure your hand, foot, or other body part on the job; or, you become ill on the job. Now what? The workers’ compensation laws and claim process can be extremely daunting and stressful to understand. Below is some general information to help you with your workers’ compensation claim.
What is Workers’ Compensation and do I qualify?
Workers’ compensation is insurance coverage held by your employer that provides benefits to workers injured on the job. If you are injured or become ill on the job, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation. Most states require employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. Employees receive compensation for their medical expenses, and in exchange, an employee forgoes his or her right to sue his or her employer.
You will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you meet all of the following requirements: 1) your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance; 2) you are an employee of that company; and 3) your injury or illness is work related.
When do I need to file a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
You should file a claim for benefits as soon as you become injured or sick on the job. In fact, waiting too long to file your workers’ compensation claim after you have become sick or injured could severely disadvantage your claim. This could allow a workers’ compensation carrier to deny your workers’ compensation benefits. Typically, if someone waits a significant amount of time to report his or her injuries, the insurance carrier will suspect that the claim is not legitimate.
Additionally, most laws require an employee to file a workers’ compensation claim within a certain amount of time or within the statute of limitations. Typically, most states require that a workers’ compensation claim be filed within one year of the injury.
Also, in most states, initiating the workers’ compensation starts with notifying your employer. This notification should be incredibly specific and include information like the date and time that the injury occurred, where the injury occurred, the nature of the injury, and a list of potential witnesses who witnessed the accident.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
There are several factors to determine whether you need an attorney to represent you in your workers compensation claim, including: the severity of the injury; if you have a pre-existing disabilities; you intend to dispute a decision by your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier; your employer denied your medical benefits; or you believe you are entitled to additional benefits.
If your injury caused permanent bodily impairment and significantly altered your life to the point that you are unable to work, you need to contact a qualified workers’ compensation attorney.
Furthermore, if you cannot afford an attorney, most attorneys offer a free consultation to review your claim and assess your damages. Additionally, most workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning the attorney will only take a portion of the money that you win. If you do not win any benefits, the attorney will not make any money.
Handling a workers’ compensation lawsuit while simultaneously recovering from your injuries can be a stressful process. You need a workers’ compensation lawyer to handle the legal complexities of the case while you recover from your injuries ensuring that you receive the best outcome possible.
However, if your injury is minor and you expect to go back to work after a few days’ or your injury does not result in permanent loss of bodily function, you may not need to hire an attorney.
Contact a local workers’ compensation attorney to determine the severity of your workers’ compensation claim.
Mark Sadaka is a Workers’ Compensation lawyer who represents numerous clients from around the country. Sadaka’s firm has the resources and expertise necessary to successfully handle these complex cases. Go to Sadaka Firm if you have any Workers’ Compensation questions.