If you were injured while on the job, you may be wondering how to take advantage of your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Work comp provides important benefits to injured employees, but there is often a lot of bureaucratic red tape to cut through.
Some employers and insurers try to save money by denying claims. Even when your right to benefits is undisputed, it could take some time for the checks to start arriving.
Any employee who suffers an injury at work is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Many states require employers to provide free medical care to injured workers and offer them partial wages while they cannot work. The program also provides long-term benefits for people with permanent injuries.
Employees must seek initial medical treatment from an employer-approved provider. However, if your injury will require treatment over an extended period, you could request another provider for your ongoing care.
After 60 days of treatment, your employer may require you to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME). The physician who conducts the exam will be evaluating whether you are fit to return to work. If you disagree with their evaluation, you can challenge the recommendation with the help of a local workplace injury attorney.
If a work-related injury prevents you from doing your job, the work comp program provides a weekly payment representing two-thirds of your wages. However, every year the program sets a minimum and maximum payment. In practice, a high-wage employee might receive less than two-thirds of their usual pay, and a low-wage employee could receive more than two-thirds.
Potential Challenges in a Workplace Injury Case
Sometimes the workers’ compensation process goes smoothly. You might file a claim, gets treatment, and receives your weekly payments until you are ready to return to work. However, employers and their insurance companies often make it difficult for workers to claim their benefits.
If your employer denies that your injury exists or questions whether it is work-related, you should seek help from a reputable law firm with experience handling work injury claims. You should also reach out to a lawyer if your employer pressures you to return to work before you feel ready.
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for making a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe your employer is harassing you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should consult an attorney immediately.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Third-Party
The workers’ compensation system offers everyone medical care and a wage supplement while they are recovering, so no employee is left without treatment or income. However, in return for these benefits, employees cannot sue their employers, even if their injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence.
If you are suffering from a severe work injury, you should consult a lawyer to determine whether a third-party lawsuit may be warranted. A third-party lawsuit is a claim against someone other than your employer seeking damages for an injury that happened at work. A third-party suit might be possible if your injury was the result of:
Carelessness by an independent contractor at the worksite
An accident that happened somewhere other than the employer’s premises
A vehicle crash
Malfunctioning equipment, machinery, or other defective product
If you and your attorney bring a successful third-party claim, you may recover compensation for losses that workers’ comp does not cover. For example, you might receive the difference between your wages and the workers’ comp indemnity payment. You can also collect damages for your pain and suffering.
Get in Touch With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The workers’ compensation program can be beneficial when it runs smoothly, but it can also be a huge hassle. Our workers’ compensation lawyers at Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers have over 30 years of experience handling these types of claims. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation.