Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system that provides benefits to employees who suffer workplace injuries or illnesses. The program pays for necessary medical care and replaces a portion of your wages while you are unable to work. An attorney can help to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.
Replacement of Lost Wages and Other Benefits
In addition to paying for medical care, workers’ compensation replaces a portion of lost wages through the following benefits:
- Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits: This benefit is for permanent disability that prevents you from working. This can be paid in either a full-lump sum or through ongoing payments of 66 and 2/3% of your gross average weekly wage.
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits: This benefit is for permanent disability in which you can still perform some type of job. Payments are based on the severity of the disability.
- Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits: This benefit is for temporary disability that prevents you from working. Paid in ongoing payments of 66 and 2/3% of your gross average weekly wage.
- Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits: This benefit is for partial disability that prevents you from performing your normal work duties, but your employer provides light-duty tasks you are capable of performing. These benefits replace a portion of your lost income.
- Vocational rehabilitation: These benefits may take the form of professional job-hunting assistance, training for a new job, and other related vocational services.
Eligible parties may be entitled to the following benefits in the event of the loss of a loved one through a workplace injury:
- Survivor benefit: 66 and 2/3% of the deceased’s gross average weekly wage is paid to an eligible survivor.
- Burial benefit: $8,000 is paid to the person responsible for burial costs.
What Qualifies as a Workplace Injury?
In the context of workers’ compensation benefits, qualifying workplace injuries include:
- Physical injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries (carpel tunnel)
- Occupational diseases
- Mental health injuries followed by a physical injury
Common Workplace Injuries
Examples of some of the most common workplace injuries include:
- Chemical exposure
- Toxic exposure
- Repetitive motions
- Dangerous equipment
- Animal attacks
- Workplace violence
- Contact with or getting struck by objects
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Chemical spills
- Slips, trips, and falls
Employer Requirements Under the Workers’ Compensation Act
Employers have a duty to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees while at work. Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, employers must:
- Provide workers’ compensation coverage: Most employers are legally obligated to provide workers’ compensation coverage by purchasing this type of no-fault insurance.
- Post notice for employees: Employers must post a notice regarding work injuries and workers’ compensation information in a visible location in the workplace.
- Document injuries: Employers must keep records of all work-related injuries at their workplace. Injuries must be reported to the state if an injury results in at least 3 days of lost work.
- Cannot charge employees for premiums: Employees cannot be charged for workers’ compensation premiums and benefits.
- Cannot discriminate because of used benefits: You cannot be harassed, denied for rehire, fired, or discriminated against for using your workers comp benefits.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured on the Job?
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, follow these steps:
- Report your injuries to a supervisor
- Ask for medical treatment from your employer’s posted panel of physicians
- Contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer
Common Mistakes in Workers Comp Claims
Avoid making these common mistakes after you’ve been hurt on the job:
- Misrepresenting your injury in any way
- Making sloppy errors on your workers comp incident report
- Not seeking professional medical treatment
- Failing to report your injury within the appropriate time frame
- Failing to contact a qualified attorney
Why Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Even though workers’ comp insurance is intended to benefit both you and your employer, the process can be complicated and you may not obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible following a workplace injury. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can:
- Explain your rights
- Help you acquire medical care
- Value your claim
- Negotiate for you
- Help you avoid mistakes
- Ensure your claim is filed accurately and on time
- Appear at required hearings
- Handle potential disputes
- Handle denied claims
- Protect your rights if your employer refuses to pay your workers’ comp benefits
- Evaluate third party claims
- Handle social security issues
Contact An Attorney Today
If you’ve been hurt at work, it’s important to act quickly. Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your rights and your worker’s compensation case.