Workers’ compensation is a system in the United States and many other countries that provide benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must have suffered an injury or illness that occurred at work, or during the course of your job duties. This can be a confusing process, so we’ve put together a list of 8 things you need to know about workers’ compensation before making a claim.
Worker’s compensation – 8 things you should know
Making a claim on worker’s compensation usually means having been injured at work or becoming sick because of your job. To get these benefits, you have to follow some eligibility rules and go through a process that can be confusing. Lawyers working for Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP say that the process of getting worker’s compensation can be made a lot easier if you understand some key things about it. By getting to know the system and what to expect, you can save yourself a lot of time, energy, and worry. More importantly, as a worker who was, most likely, injured because of someone else’s negligence, you can get the full benefits you’re entitled to.
1. You have to be an employee to claim worker’s compensation
The first thing you need to know is that, in order to get worker’s compensation, you must be an employee. This means that you cannot be a contractor or an independent worker. You also cannot be a family member of the business owner, unless you are considered a domestic worker. If you are not an employee, you might still be able to get benefits if your state has what is called a ” reciprocal agreement .” This allows workers from one state to get benefits in another state if they meet certain requirements.
2. You have to have been injured or gotten sick at work
The second key thing to remember is that the injury or illness must have happened while you were working, or as a result of your job duties. This is generally pretty easy to prove if you have an injury that occurred at work, such as a slip and fall accident. However, it can be more difficult to show that an illness is work-related. For example, if you develop carpal tunnel syndrome from typing too much at work, you may have to show that you did not have this condition before you started working and that your job duties are what caused it.
3. There is a time limit to file a claim
If you have been injured or gotten sick because of your job, you need to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. In most states, you have between 30 and 90 days to do so. If you miss this deadline, you may not be able to get benefits. However, this can vary depending on your state’s laws, so it is important to check with your state’s workers’ compensation board to find out the specific deadline.
4. You don’t need to prove that your employer was at fault
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you do not need to show that your employer was at fault for your injury or illness. This is different from a personal injury claim, where you would have to show that someone else’s negligence caused your accident. With workers’ compensation, it does not matter who was at fault – the important thing is that you were injured or became ill while working.
5. You may be entitled to benefits even if you are partly at fault
If you are partly at fault for your own injury or illness, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you slipped and fell at work because you were not paying attention, you may still be able to get benefits. However, the number of benefits you receive may be reduced if you are found to be partly at fault. Proving fault can be complicated, so it is important to speak to a lawyer about your case.
6. You don’t have to go to court to get benefits
Most workers’ compensation claims do not have to go to court. In fact, less than 5 percent of all workers’ compensation claims end up in front of a judge. The vast majority of claims are settled between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s lawyer). Furthermore, if your claim does go to court, it will likely be in front of a workers’ compensation judge, not a regular civil court judge.
7. You may be able to get benefits even if you are fired
If you are fired from your job, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This is because your firing cannot be related to your injury or illness. For example, if you are fired because you missed too much work due to your injury, you may still be able to get benefits. However, if you are fired for misconduct, such as drug use, you will not be eligible for benefits. Being fired does not automatically mean that you will lose your benefits, so it is important to speak to a lawyer about your specific case.
8. You need to cooperate with your employer and insurance company
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to cooperate with your employer and the insurance company. For example, you may need to provide medical records or other documentation. You also need to follow your doctor’s orders and attend any required rehabilitation or treatment programs. If you do not cooperate with your employer or the insurance company, your benefits may be reduced or even denied.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a complex and confusing process. However, it is important to remember that you have rights as an injured or sick worker. If you have been injured or become ill because of your job, speak to a lawyer to find out what benefits you may be entitled to. As you can see, there are many things to consider before making a claim, but an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate the process and get the benefits you deserve.