For employees of businesses in the United States, worker’s compensation is a core benefit. In fact it is so important to the health and safety of employees that every US state and territory has adopted, workers compensation laws designed to replace traditional personal injury litigation, and remove health and injury risk coverage for both the employee and the employer.
In the absence of workers compensation, employees who become injured or sick on the job must file a lawsuit and prove their employer is responsible. In the best cases, compensation is slow and at its worst, employees might not receive any benefits causing huge financial hardships to them and their families.
In this instance an employee needs to know that there is recourse in the form of legal action taken against the employer. The employee can engage a reputable workers comp claim attorney like Dan DeKoter, who can fight for compensation for the employee:
Definition of Workers Compensation
Workers compensation law is a state administered and employer financed system of rules designed to assess and pay the expenses of employees who are injured or become ill on the job. Employees, once employed by a business, from their first day of employment, they are automatically provided with workers compensation insurance that is designed to fully cover them on the job.
When an employee is covered by workers comp, they are eligible to recover income and expenses for lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, and costs associated with their rehabilitation and retraining. Workers comp is available to employees of private business. Federal employees have access to a similar program that provides the same benefits.
Important Elements of Workers Compensation
If you are an employee, you employer must make you aware of their workers comp coverage and provide to you information on the program, your benefits under the program and the proper procedures you must go through in order to access those benefits. Here are some of the key procedures:
- Each state has a Workers Compensation Board that oversees the program and the resolution of any disputes.
- If you an employee and you are injured while working, you need to report it to someone in authority at you place of employment immediately because there is a time limit for worker’s comp claims which varies from state to state. If you wait beyond this period, your claim may be denied.
- If you are or have received worker’s comp benefits and want to adjust the claim, you have a two year period after your injury to do so.
- Workers comps covers injuries or illnesses for employees who are not able to return to the job for more than seven consecutive working days.
- Injured or ill employees must be examined by an employer supplied registered physician. An employer or employee can dispute the findings of this physician with a state’s Workers Compensation Board.
- Compensation will start in about two weeks after a claim is made. Compensation will generally be mailed to your home.
- If you have medical visits that are during working hours, you will be compensated for this time.
- The law protects you from being terminated for making a workers comp claim. This also covers anyone who acts as a witness for your claim. In states like Delaware, Florida
Georgia and other are at-will employment states, and an employee can be terminated at any time except for a few very specific situations.
Steps to Take in the Event of a Workers Compensation Dispute
Sometimes the employee and employer cannot agree on a work related injury or its severity. In this case a dispute arises between employer and employee. If this occurs, the first approach is for the two to discuss the dispute with a goal of reaching a resolution. If none can be found, the employee can explore dispute resolution options that will involve the two parties and the Worker’s Compensation Board. At this point, the employee needs to engage am attorney.
Workers Compensation claims can be complicated, especially if the injury is significant and involves medical care over a long period of time and facts that are disputed by the parties.