Workers' Compensation Benefits
Have you been hurt on the job? Do you feel you are entitled to benefits as a result of that injury? Have you missed work or been fired after an injury? Do you need medical treatment?
If you have been hurt on the job, you may now be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. You may already have a pending claim and are getting your benefits, or you may need to know your rights and have not yet brought a claim.
Have you have been injured on a job? In addition to your workers’ compensation benefits, do you also have a claim against a third party? »
Hopefully, you are recovering from your injuries and getting the medical care you need, and you are also receiving the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to. Here is some general information for you:
An employee is covered if he or she works for an employer who regularly employs three or more people full or part time, or is an employee of a construction subcontractor, or where the employer has workers’ compensation insurance. An individual who works for the State, a County, or City is covered. With some exception, agricultural workers, residential workers, residential domestic workers, independent contractors, and casual workers are not covered by the Act. Federal, maritime, and railroad workers are covered under other State and Federal laws.
It is important for the employer to have notice of this injury or incident. The employee should immediately report to his or her supervisor any on-the-job injury including the time and date of the injury, the manner in which it occurred, and the nature of the injury. If an employee is informed by a doctor, or believes that he or she has a disease or condition which is related to or caused by the job, that should be immediately reported as well.
Most workers’ compensation claims are administered either by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier or, in the case of a self-insured employer, a claims administrator. Remember that payment of medical expenses by an employer, alone, may not bind an employer/insurance carrier to pay other benefits and is not an admission of compensability or acceptance of the claim.
Workers’ compensation insurance carriers often work to find ways to deny or limit legitimate claims. An injured person who is represented by an attorney from the beginning is best able to meet the insurance company’s lawyers and claims adjusters on a level playing field. Further, a prompt evaluation of the circumstances of an injury - on the job or not - by an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is an important first step toward protecting the rights of the victim and affected family members.
Generally, an injury is fairly obvious as oftentimes an injury needs immediate medical attention from the job-site. However, the initial step for a Plaintiff or Employee in a Workers’ Compensation Case in many cases to provide official notice is to file a Form 18. This must be done within two years from the day of your accident, and it preserves your Workers’ Compensation rights. Despite this, it is important to notify your employer immediately, or at least within 30 days in writing, of your workers’ compensation injury or disease.
Workers’ Compensation developed as an alternative to Personal Injury or tort actions. The benefit of Workers’ Compensation is that it is not fault-based. In other words, you do not have to prove any negligence of the employer in order to recover Workers’ Compensation benefits. You simply need to demonstrate that you sustained an injury by accident arising out of and in the course and scope of your employment with your employer. Basically, this means that you were injured while working for your employer doing your job in an ordinary fashion, when some accident or something out of the ordinary occurred.
For major bodily injuries, this is quite apparent what it could be. For example, a broken bone or other physically visible injury. For your back/neck, the injury must be related to a specific traumatic incident, that you can describe with detail. For example, lifting boxes or twisting in some way when you feel an immediate pain in your back. There are also occupational diseases, repetitive injuries, loss of hearing/vision, and certain mental claims that could also arise and that will be discussed in further detail with you if relevant to your case..