A guide to filing workers compensation claims
The purpose of workers' compensation laws is to provide employees who are injured on the job with sufficient money for medical care in exchange for their promise not to sue the employer for negligence. Essentially, workers' compensation is an insurance policy to protect workers and to control the financial risks for employers in the case of economic loss, payment of medical expenses and benefits paid to the families of workers who are killed during employment.
Every employee who is injured on the job is eligible for workers' compensation, regardless of how minor the injury appears to be. A variety of medical expenses will be covered, as well as lost wages, and you may receive additional cash compensation if you are unable to work for a given number of days determined by your state law. However, the process of filing a claim and receiving your due payment can be extensive, and your case will likely benefit from some legal expertise.
About Workers' Compensation
In the United States, employers that have four or more employees are required to purchase insurance for workers' compensation; those that do not are subject to steep penalties. The acts that govern the specific aspects and amounts of workers' compensation are typically state statutes, and the terms of these will vary by state. However, there are certain laws governing discrimination and an employer's responsibility to report a claim to their insurance carrier that will apply to every business in every state.
Filing Workers' Compensation Claims
A claim will involve a few steps: first, you must officially notify your employer, obtain the appropriate workers' compensation forms and see a doctor to determine the extent of your injury or illness. While the method is fairly straightforward, the process can be complex and time limits apply for a claim to be submitted; you must make sure you have a good grasp of your state's workers' compensation laws and prepare to act quickly.
Laws surrounding workers' compensation are intended to ensure fair treatment of workplace injuries. This means that the employer is not allowed to discriminate against employees who have a history of workers' compensation claims, nor are employees allowed to falsely claim benefits. However, a tense relationship between the employer and the claimant often results—some employers will challenge compensation claims, and some employees will be hesitant to file a claim if they suspect that it will affect their future employment. In these cases, experienced workers' compensation lawyers will be necessary to advocate on behalf of the injured person in order to effectively overcome the dispute.
Unfortunately, workers' compensation settlements are rarely straightforward or compassionate—employers and their insurance companies can and will work against an employee's claim. To avoid a severely unbalanced contest, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer that can offer relevant experience and a commitment to your case.