What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance held by employers that provides cash benefits and medical care for people who suffer injuries or illnesses as a result of their jobs. Each state has its own regulations on workers’ compensation. Traditionally, individuals are encouraged to seek help from their claims representative if they are injured or become ill because of work-related causes. The injured worker is awarded benefits with any needed medical treatment or compensation they are entitled to.
Who do I contact if I have questions about workers compensation/ workers compensation benefits?
It’s best to contact your company’s workers’ compensation claims representative. If you have additional questions, you can contact the Work Injury Advocates.
Do I receive any benefits from workers compensation?
You have the benefit of protecting your income. Workers’ compensation replaces a portion of your lost earnings if you are unable to work because of your work-related injury or illness. This is all contingent upon your state’s workers compensations laws.
Who pays for these benefits?
Employers who do not pay for benefits themselves usually purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover them. In any event, there is no cost to you.
Can I see my own doctor or change the doctor I am treating with?
You should speak with you claim representative to discuss whether treatment with your personal doctor would be approved. Whether the victim will be allowed to see his or her personal doctor is all dependent upon state rules and regulations.
What do I need to return to work?
You should stay in contact with your employers and claim representatives during the recovery period and throughout the claim process. Victims usually need a medical release from the doctor treating them in order to return back to work.
What happens when I return to work?
Your employer may return you to your current assignment if your doctor releases you to return to work without any medical restrictions. If you are given medical restrictions by your doctor, you should immediately contact your employer to determine if there is an alternate job within your medical restrictions that you may do on a temporary basis until a doctor releases you to work without restrictions.
What will happen if I re-injure myself when I return to work?
The employer of the victim should be notified immediately in the case of a re-injury, and it should be reported back to the doctor.
Can I ask my employer to do another job if my doctor said I am unable to do my current job?
A doctor would usually not release you until you are well enough to perform your original job. If there are medical restrictions following injury, you can discuss this with your employer.
Who can tell my employer about the condition that caused my injury/illness?
Your condition can be discussed with your claims representative, but should ultimately be brought to the attention of your employer if you feel it was a factor that contributed to the injury or illness.
What do I do if I receive a bill from my doctor?
You should have no out-of-pockets expenses. If it is determined that your work-related injury or illness claim is compensable, you should forward your medical bills to your claims representative.
What if my employer refuses to pay workers’ compensation benefits?
The court will ultimately review the case and determine whether treatment benefits will be ordered. If the victim’s doctor finds that medical treatment for the work-related injury or illness is the necessary, the victim will be allowed to file a motion in court for temporary benefits.
Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
No. The law prohibits the termination of an employee when they file a legitimate workers’ compensation claim. However, if the claim is discovered to be fraudulent the employee can then be terminated.
When I file a workers’ compensation claim, am I suing my employer?
Technically, no. The employer is not being sued. Traditionally it is the employer’s workers compensation insurance carrier who has the responsibility of paying for the benefits. Workers compensation claims are traditionally not filed in court but rather administered by a stage agency.
How is a workers’ compensation dispute resolved?
If the victim believes his or her claim is valid and the employers or the workers’ compensation insurance provider does not, the claim will typically go before a workers’ compensation judge.
After I am injured on the job, how long does the insurance company have to start sending me my checks?
This time varies. It is ususally the insurance company’s responsibility to either mail the victim a check or notify that they intend to deny compensation for the work-related injury or illness.
I don’t know the name of my employers workers compensation insurance company what are the necessary next steps?
The employer is required by law to have a “Notice To Employees” poster displayed somewhere within the workplace that provides them with that information. Workers should ask their employers for that information if it is not already provided. The employer is required to report the incident to their insurance company. They are also required to give the injured employee a copy of this information.
If I am injured on the job and have to go to the hospital for treatment, does my employer have to pay me for the entire day?
If the employer pays for the entire day/shift, the next day would technically be considered the first day of disability. If an employer pays the victim for the entire day/ shift, then the proceeding day would become the first day of disability.
My employer’s insurance company wants me to be examined by another doctor in addition to my own. Is this sort of routine standard?
It’s common practice for an employer’s workers compensation insurance to send the victim to a doctor of their choice.
Am I required to have another exam in addition to the one conducted by my own doctor, if the insurance company wants me to?
It is necessary and refusal to do so can result in the termination of any potential benefits.
I was hurt at work, and my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance. Can I get workers compensation benefits? Can I sue my employer?
If you find yourself in a position to where the employer is uninsured, you are allowed to sue your employer and file a claim against the workers’ compensation trust fund. A trust fund has been put in place to pay workers’ compensation benefits.
I was injured at my full-time job, and I’m going to be out for several weeks. I also have a part-time job, and am able to continue working there. How does this second job affect my benefits?
The victim would be required to report his or her earnings from the second job to the insurer of their full-time job. The insurer would then pay the victim partial benefits, compensating for a percentage of the victim’s lost wages. This compensation would more than likely result in the victim receiving less than he or she would under temporary total benefits.
Can the insurance company be fined for not paying benefits on time? How much? Who gets the money?
Yes the insurance company can be fined for not paying benefits on time. Further delays in payment may result in additional fines payable to the workers comp trust fund.
If I have a scar or a permanent loss of function due to a work-related injury, do I get any additional compensation for this?
Traditionally the victim would reach an agreement with the insurance company to settle this compensation anywhere between 9 months and a year from the date of injury. The victims are entitled to a one-time payment for certain scars on their hand, neck or face, and permanent losses of function.
If I hire an attorney who pays for him/her?
In some situations the insurer can reduce payments to help pay for the victim’s legal representation. Often the victim will not be responsible for paying an attorney upfront. Fees should be discussed upfront with the hired attorney. Sometimes if the victim loses the case, the attorney can charge the victim for certain expenses.
How does collecting social security affect my workers compensation benefits?
If the victim is receiving Social Security disability benefits, the cost of living adjustments could be affected. Social Security benefits will not affect workers’ compensation insurance benefits.
I was injured on the job, and I’m getting weekly checks. My employer has terminated me. Are they allowed to do this?
Do I have to miss work in order to get monetary benefits?
In order for a victim to receive wage replacement benefits, the victim will need to miss work. There are instances when the victim can receive additional money based on the injury and the severity of it. Traditionally, this outcome occurs when permanent damage has been done to a specific body part.
If I was working off the books, am I still entitled to workers compensation?
If the victim is injured while working off the books they need to get in contact with an attorney as soon as possible. It may be difficult for victims to prove how much they were earning or if they were actually working at the time of the injury/illness-causing accident.