The modern world is filled with hidden dangers that we don’t always spot right away, and sometimes those dangers occur at work. Usually employers endeavor to provide a safe work environment for their workers, because the reality is if you’re hurt, you’re not being productive and thus not making your employer money. However, in spite of best intentions, injuries do happen, and when those injuries happen on the job, a workman’s compensation claim is sure to follow. To help make sure your own claims go smoothly should the worst happen, here are ten things to keep in mind to make sure you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
1. Know the Legal Definition of “Employee”
Who is defined as an employee for purposes of workman’s compensation varies from state to state, so it is best to determine whether or not you are covered ahead of time. In general, if you are required to regularly report for work at a given location at a given time every day, and are not hired on a seasonal basis, you are covered. With this and any other information pertaining to workman’s compensation: consult state law to find the specifics that pertain to you.
2. Claims Are Handled by the Insurer: Not the Employer
While your human resources representative might assist you with filing a claim, ultimately the compensation is handled by the workers compensation insurance company. As such, it will be them you will deal with, and not the employer.
3. Workers Compensation Covers More Than Medical Bills
While workers compensation covers whatever is necessary to treat your injury, it also covers a portion of your lost wages if you find yourself disabled in the long term. Typically this covers about two thirds of your salary, and may also cover rehabilitation, retraining, and other benefits depending on the nature of the injury and work performed.
4. Workers Compensation is Not about Fault
Whether your own negligence or the employer’s negligence caused the incident doesn’t matter from a workman’s comp perspective: you can still be compensated. If you are holding off on filing a claim because you feel it was your own fault: don’t, file a claim as soon as possible to help get those injuries treated. Note that injuries caused by being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs are not covered.
5. Workers Compensation Doesn’t Cover “Off-The-Clock” Activities
You can only be compensated if you were injured in the course of your duties. If you’re not on the job, then your injury cannot be compensated.
6. You don’t have to be on Your Employer’s Property
A valid worker’s compensation claim doesn’t require you to be on the property of your employer to go through. If you are off the premises performing a work-related function (such as a delivery), then you are still entitled to worker’s compensation.
7. Workers Compensation doesn’t have to be an Individual Incident
Workers compensation isn’t just about a specific accident: it can also be related to a gradual injury caused by repetitive strain, including carpal tunnel syndrome or back problems. If you believe your injury to be the result of work related conditions, you may be able to file a claim.
8. You May Be Required to use the Insurer’s Doctor
While some states do allow you to use your own doctor, most states will require you to be referred to the insurer’s doctor. You must go to them to be eligible for benefits, but you do have the right to seek a second opinion if you feel you are receiving sub-standard care.
9. Worker’s Compensation Limits Employer Liability, not Other Parties
Not all injuries are a direct result of the employer, sometimes it might be defective tools that the employer requires you to use in the course of your job. While worker’s compensation might pay for the injuries on the job, you are still entitled to seek compensation from the manufacturer of a defective product, another driver in a car accident, or other parties that contributed to the injury in question. Worker’s compensation does not limit their liability in any way.
10. You Always Have the Right to an Attorney
If you feel you are being treated unfairly, or are not being adequately compensated or getting substandard treatment, then you have the right to pursue legal action and hire representation. If at any time you feel as if you are being treated unfairly by a Worker’s Compensation insurance company you have the right to retain legal representation and pursue the matter – nothing an insurance representative says or does can change that.
Washington Times Communities: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/leading-edge-legal-advice-everyday-matters/2012/may/7/workers-compensation-what-you-need-know/
About the author:
This article was written by Brennen Kliffmueller. Brennen studied law in college and currently works as a legal analyist. In his down time, Brennen enjoys researching various legal related topics and creating content for Heil-Law – Orlando’s premier personal injury attorney. You can read more of Brennen’s work on his Google+ page.
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