If you’ve been injured at work, you may be wondering whether or not it is appropriate to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation claims are rather common, with many people filing them each year. They are meant to protect employees against employers putting them in unsafe working conditions, and they provide a safety net for workers who are injured on the job and left with medical bills and lost wages due to an inability to work.
As Bennett Schiller, a workers’ comp lawyer in Rock Hill, SC explains, a workers’ compensation claim can be critical for employees who are left with severe injuries, since they may no longer be able to work, but are still left with medical expenses and normal living expenses. Workers’ compensation is meant to cover several different things. A few of these are as follows:
- Medical Expenses
A severe work injury can leave an individual with a large amount of medical bills, even if he or she has insurance. Workers’ compensation claims are designed to help pay for these medical expenses and fill in the gaps left by insurance.
- Partial Wage Replacement
After a severe injury, many workers are unable to keep doing their jobs. This leaves them without an income. Workers’ compensation claims offer partial wage replacement. This arrangement replaces a percentage of the workers’ lost wages as he or she heals from the injury.
- Temporary Partial Disability
This is also referred to as a post-injury wage. This type of compensation is given to a worker if he or she goes back to work after being injured but cannot complete the job properly due to the effects of the injury. This benefit is available up to 300 weeks after a worker goes back to work after being injured.
- Permanent Partial Disability
If a worker suffers a severe injury where they lose a limb or suffer severe damage to a body part, they may be given permanent partial disability benefits to help them recover from the loss.
- Death Benefits
This type of benefit is given to the family of a worker if he or she dies due to an accident in the workplace. It is meant to pay for expenses incurred by the death as well as lost wages if the deceased individual was the family’s breadwinner.
If you’ve been severely injured on the job, and it is impacting your ability to work and you are facing medical bills you cannot pay, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. As Dallas personal injury lawyer Tim Tate explains, the workers’ compensation process is there to protect you, so you should not feel hesitant about taking advantage of it if you need it.
So, what does the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim look like? As David Teddy, a workers’ compensation benefits attorney in NC explains, the process tends to vary slightly from state-to-state, but the general steps that you will take to file a claim will be similar. Here are the basic steps of the process:
The first thing you need to do is notify your employer in writing about your injury. You need to do this as soon as possible. You will want to include records of any medical treatment and diagnoses you have received. (Make sure you’re going to a medical provider approved by your employer’s insurance network).
After you notify your employer, you should be sent paperwork to fill out. This paperwork will document your injury and is the way you will apply for workers’ compensation. Depending on the state you live in, you might have to file paperwork with your state’s workers’ compensation agency, and in other states, your employer will do this for you, so read-up on the laws for your state.
It is important to get this paperwork filed right away. The time limits you have to do this vary by state (the longest amount of time you will have is a year), but the faster you file the paperwork, the better chance you have of having your claim accepted, as your case will appear more urgent.
Once you’ve submitted your paperwork, your employer’s insurance company will then either accept or deny your claim. If your claim gets accepted, you should start getting benefits shortly thereafter (usually within a month).
If your claim is denied, you may choose to file an appeal. At this point of the process, it is wise to seek the help of a workers’ compensation attorney, as the process of winning an appeal can be tricky. You’ll want to find an attorney who has a history of winning workers’ compensation appeals to help guide you through the process.
If you’ve been hurt on the job, and you know it wasn’t your fault, don’t hesitate to file a workers’ compensation claim. As Harvey Morris, a Florence AL personal injury attorney explains, this process if put in place to protect you, so you should take advantage of it and make sure you get the compensation you need in order to heal from your injuries with dignity.