Workers Compensation Overview
The official worker’s compensation definition varies from state to state. However, both state and federal workers compensation is generally understood to be a type of insurance that covers most if not all valid on-the-job injuries or work-related illnesses.
Workers comp provides benefits to injured workers even if the injuries or illnesses were caused by the carelessness of either the employee or the employer. It will not cover injuries or illnesses that stem from a worker being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs in the workplace.
Many states also allow for worker compensation claims to be denied if the injuries or illnesses were purposely self-inflicted, such as the worker making the claim started a fight or intentionally ingested chemicals on the job. Likewise, a claim can be denied if the petitioner was committing a crime when injured, not on the actual job site, or in violation of company policy.
Workman’s comp can also be utilized to cover extended or long-term work-related injuries and illnesses. For example, a worker can file a claim to cover expenses that arise from misuse or overuse of body parts like the hands, legs, or fingers. Likewise, it can cover stress injuries or health conditions like lung, heart, or digestive illnesses that are directly related to a person’s employment.
Depending on the state in which you live or work, you may not need to be on the actual job site or in the workplace to have your injuries or illnesses covered by workman’s compensation. Many states allow people to file for workmen compensation if they suffer an injury or illness while traveling on business, carrying out company-related errands, or even attending a work-related social function.
Some states allow certain employees to be exempted from workman’s comp coverage, however. Employees who may be excluded by the state for protection and compensation under its worker compensation laws include:
- farm workers
- domestic workers
- seasonal employees
- casual workers
If your employer falls into one of those categories, you may find it difficult to file for workman’s compensation from your employer.
Even if you do not fit into one of those categories, you may still find it difficult to prove that you have a valid case to file for workers compensation benefits can be difficult and time-consuming. You bear the burden of disclosing how you got sick or injured as well as proving beyond a doubt that the injury or illness relates directly to your employment. When you are not sure how to navigate your state’s workers compensation laws or even what is required of you to file for workers comp, you may get the outcome you want in or out of court by retaining a licensed workers compensation attorney to advise and represent you.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Depending on the state in which you live or work, you may face several restrictions when it comes to having your illness or injury diagnosed and treated. Many companies require that you take action within three to five days after being injured or sickened. You also may need to seek treatment and diagnosis from a facility or doctor that is in a network with your company’s workmen compensation insurer.
Even if you do your best to abide by these restrictions, you still may find it challenging to prove that your injury or illness was caused directly by your job or employer. In fact, your employer probably will have its own team of lawyers ready to defend the company in court and to argue that your injury or illness is not related to your job at all.
Rather than make a claim and possibly go to court alone, you need a workers comp lawyer working for you throughout the case. Your worker’s compensation attorney can advise and guide you on how to file a claim. Your worker’s comp lawyer can also protect you from reprisals at work as you petition for workers compensation benefits and pursue federal workers compensation for long-term injuries or illnesses related to your employment.
More importantly, a workers compensation attorney will know the worker’s compensation definition of qualifying injuries and illnesses in your state. Using that information, your worker’s compensation attorney can then start compiling a case to take to court and help you secure the benefits to which you are entitled.
Every state has laws stipulating companies to avoid using reprisals to scare or deter employees from seeking such compensation. Even so, some employers still attempt to terminate, demote, or otherwise intimidate employees from filing for workers comp benefits. They realize that these claims will increase operational costs and take money away from shareholders and company leaders.
When you fear such reprisals at work, you need a workers compensation attorney advocating for you and also monitoring your treatment at your workplace. Your attorney can step in and file a protective legal action to head off threats your ability to work and earn an income for you and your family.
Along with answering the important question of what is workers worker compensation as it applies to your case, your worker’s compensation attorney can also negotiate a settlement that will keep your case out of the courtroom. Many employers particularly larger international companies want to avoid going to trial if necessary. They do not want to garner bad publicity that could harm their reputation and brand.
To stay out of the courtroom, your employer may offer you a settlement. The settlement at first glance may appear generous and more than enough to compensate you for your injury or illness. However, before you accept it, you should have your worker’s compensation attorney review the offer and negotiate a fairer amount if appropriate.
Your worker’s compensation attorney knows that you will need compensation that will take care of you and your family now as well as into the future. If you cannot go back to work, you need an offer that will help you recoup your lost wages and provide an income until you can file and be approved for long-term Social Security disability payments.
The settlement may also need to include benefits like health insurance, access to your 401k, and continued contributions to your retirement savings. You may overlook these important factors in your readiness to settle your case and move on with your life as you heal from your injury or illness. Rather than acting in haste and regretting your decision to accept the offer later, you can get the best settlement for your present and future needs by relying on the counsel of a skilled and experienced workers compensation attorney.
It is important that you retain a workers compensation attorney who can answer questions like what is workers worker compensation and other important concerns immediately after suffering an injury or illness at your workplace. You can find the best one to take your case and protect you from reprisals, unfair settlements, and more by asking friends, family members, and coworkers for advice or by doing research of local attorneys online. You can get a free or low-cost referral from your state bar association.
A workers compensation attorney can be a valuable ally and asset in your bid to file for and claim workers compensation benefits. After you have suffered an injury or illness on the job, you have a short amount of time to file for benefits from your employer’s insurance company. Even if you file on time, you could still face denial or abbreviated benefits if you fail to prove your case effectively.
Workers who are injured or made ill on the job must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their health conditions were caused in some way by their employment. They have to show that their job duties contributed to fractures, sprains, strains, digestive issues, heart problems, lung difficulties, or other short-term or chronic illnesses and injuries from which they suffer.
When you hesitate to do so because you fear reprisal from your employer, you can secure immediate protection by putting a workers compensation attorney on retainer. Your worker’s compensation attorney can act as your intermediary as well as your counselor as you pursue benefits from the insurance company.
Your worker’s compensation attorney can also gather evidence like medical records, x-rays, blood tests, and even eyewitness testimony to prove that your condition relates directly to your job. Depending on the evidence available to your worker’s compensation attorney and other circumstances of the case, your attorney may want to try to settle out of court. Settling allows you to avoid going to trial and having to spend time and money that you may not be able to afford.
Many companies are willing to settle rather than go to trial to avoid bad publicity. Before you take a settlement offer, you can have it reviewed and negotiated by your attorney. Your lawyer can get you a better amount of compensation if he or she feels that the amount being offered right now is not in the best interests of your present situation as well as your future stability and protection.