Do You Have Questions About Workers’ Compensation? We Have Answers.
In the more than 65 years that our firm has been serving employers in workers’ compensation cases, some questions have come up more often than others. For your convenience, we have compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions below. If you have further questions, please contact our office and we will be happy to answer them.
I’ve been injured on the job. Does my employer have to provide workers’ compensation insurance?
Yes, employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance for all part-time and full-time employees. This applies to businesses of any size, from those with just one employee to thousands. This insurance can be provided via a third-party insurance company, or through self-insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance is not required, however, for business partners, corporate officers or sole proprietors.
What benefits am I eligible to receive through workers’ compensation?
For employees who suffer a work-related injury and qualify for workers’ compensation, the benefits they receive can include:
- Funds that can be used to pay for doctor visits, prescribed medications, surgery, hospital visits and other medical expenses related to your injury.
- Disability benefits in the form of partial wage replacement, according to the exact nature of your injury. This includes some form of disability benefits for both partial and total disability, as well as both temporary and permanent disabilities.
- Rehabilitation services ranging from occupational therapy to vocation training in order to perform your current job with a disability, or to learn a new skill that is better suited to your post-injury mobility.
- If a worker’s injury results in death, the employees surviving immediate family members are eligible to receive death benefits.
What actions should I expect my employer to take after I have filed a workers’ compensation claim?
Because every workers’ compensation case starts with an injury or illness, an employer’s first responsibility is to help the injured employee obtain medical attention immediately if the injury is urgent. After the initial emergency is under control, the employer must file a “First Report of Injury” form and submit it to their insurance carrier or the workers’ compensation commission in your state.
After a workers’ compensation claim is filed, an investigation of the incident will likely follow – either by the injured employee’s attorney, your insurer or by the state workers’ compensation commission. As the investigation is conducted, the employer has a responsibility to cooperate and provide complete and timely information when requested.
Finally, an employer must respect the injured employee’s rights under the law, and refrain from engaging in discrimination or retaliatory action in response to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Do workers’ compensation rules apply when an injury was caused by a third party?
Yes. Workers’ compensation law does recognize that not all workplace injuries are the fault of the employer. It is possible to recover the costs of a workers’ compensation claim through a process called subrogation. This process is complex, but a good rule of thumb is that your subrogation effort is more likely to be successful if you take action quickly, and maintain detailed and accurate records of the incident, which clearly demonstrate the negligence or malice of the responsible third party.
What happens if there is a dispute about the validity an employee’s workers’ compensation claim?
Disputes regarding the validity of workers’ compensation claims fall under the jurisdiction of each state’s workers’ compensation commission. If either the employee or employer is unhappy with this commission’s ruling, it is possible to file an appeal with an appellate board of commissioners, and ultimately the matter can be pursued through litigation in state court.
How should employers respond when an employee files a workers’ compensation claim?
The best strategy varies greatly depending on the nature of the injury and the validity of the claim. The best way to choose an appropriate legal strategy is to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation defense attorney like those at Keefe & DePauli, P.C. In our first meeting, we will listen closely to the details of your case and will explain exactly how we can help you navigate the claims process quickly and effectively.