While modern technology and awareness have made most workplaces considerably safer, accidents do happen. These accidents often lead to a temporary or permanent disability or even death.
According to the latest survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job-related injuries are far more common than job-related illnesses with Healthcare and Social Assistance (544,800 workplace injuries), Retail Trade (401,100 workplace injuries), and Manufacturing (395,300 workplace injuries) topping the list in 2018.
One of the best ways to minimize the financial burden resulting from a workplace injury and getting proper medical care is through a workers’ compensation claim. However, these are tricky waters. You need to know everything about this claim to reap its rewards.
Let’s get the answers to a few frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation claim.
1. Why Is It Important?
Whether you are working in the retail sector or the manufacturing industry, work-related injury risks are always present. Business owners are not only required to create a safe working environment, but also assist their employees in case of accidents and injuries.
In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory. It protects your employees and their families should an accident happen. The insurance often helps you pay for medical costs, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
It also protects your business as the employee taking the insurance benefit has a limited ability to sue your business for damages. Further, it prevents extravagant out-of-pocket expenses. Providing workers’ compensation benefits can help businesses attract the best talent in their niche.
2. How Many Claims Can I Receive in a Year?
When it comes to workers’ compensation, each claim stands on its own facts. However, as there are too many variables involved, only an experienced Mount Vernon workers compensation lawyer can tell you how your prior settlements may or may not impact your present claim.
However, each state does have different time limits for reporting work-related injuries and filing your claim. In some states, you have to report the injury or give notice to your employer as soon as practically possible. Other states allow you to do so within 10-to-90 days.
There is also a deadline for filing the claim, which differs from state to state. It usually falls in the range of one-to-three years from the date of injury. But, you may have up to six years to file your claim in some states.
3. What Benefits Are You Entitled To?
Under a workers’ compensation claim, you can get the following benefits:
- Medical Expenses: These usually include payment for immediate emergency care, medical treatment, and travel expenses for physical rehabilitation.
- Lost Wages: You usually get a weekly benefit of a third of your average weekly earnings with a time limit of two years.
- Permanent Injury: If the injury leads to permanent physical impairment, affecting your ability to work, you can qualify for a permanent disability payment.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: If the injury requires you to take up a new job or profession, you may get retraining or learning benefits.
- Death Benefits: Your family may get burial expenses and a lump-sum payment in the event of a death.
4. Do I Need an Experienced Compensation Lawyer to Resolve My Case?
Most workers’ compensation claims are complex, especially if you are claiming benefits for a permanent disability or long-term illness. In this case, different variables will govern the outcome of your claim. Further, once you have filed a claim, you lose the right to ask for additional compensation. So, it is better to hire a lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation law.
Your lawyer will make sure your employer pays all your benefits promptly. They will also take care of all case-related documentation and follow-up until your claim is processed. As lawyers do the leg work, you can focus on your physical and mental recovery, and get your life back on track.
5. Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits Even If the Injury Is My Fault?
Yes! Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system. In other words, you are entitled to rightful compensation regardless of whether yours or your employer’s negligence caused the injury. However, you have to file the claim after the injury as the benefits will not kick in automatically. If you don’t file the claim, you will lose all the benefits. So, make sure to do it within the state-prescribed time limit.
6. Can My Claim Be Denied? What Can I Do in Such a Case?
Yes, your claim may get denied. The most common reasons for the rejection of a workers’ compensation claim are:
- The injury is not work-related or you have inadequate evidence to prove that it was work-related.
- You failed to file the claim in time.
- The injury was caused by the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- You were intentionally trying to hurt someone else or yourself, leading to the injury.
- You don’t have workers’ compensation insurance.
- Your employer is disputing the claim.
However, depending on the factors involved in your claim, it may get rejected for many other reasons as well. With the help of an attorney, you can appeal the decision to your state’s board of workers’ compensation. You must file the appeal within the given time limit, which may be different from state to state.
A workers’ compensation claim can provide you with quick and easy financial relief should you suffer any injury on the job. Filing this claim won’t be difficult if you know how to do it right. Hopefully, the answers to the above six common questions about workers’ compensation law will help clarify the process. Feel free to contact us to discuss your claim and get personalized advice.