When injured on the job, you are faced with a number of potential issues. Loss of work due to an on-the-job injury can be very difficult financially. Lost wages are just the beginning. There are medical bills, physical therapy, and lasting pain or permanent disability that may occur.
What is worker’s compensation?
Years ago, the idea was that a person assumed the risk of injury when they took a job. If you agreed to be paid to do dangerous work such as construction, you were assumed to have understood that there is a chance of injury. The payment you received for the job was in return for the risk you put yourself in.
Nowadays, it is understood that your employer is responsible for maintaining a safe working environment. As a result, all employers are now required to carry insurance to cover their employees in this situation. If you are injured on the job, worker’s compensation laws are in place to compensate you for the injury.
How does worker’s compensation work?
Step 1: Employer-employee relationship?
The first thing to make sure is that the employer is obligated to cover you. If you are a full-time employee who received a paycheck for work performed, you are likely covered. However, some businesses operate with independent contractors. In these situations, there is a chance that the employer is not required to cover you for worker’s compensation.
Step 2: Arising in the course of and out of employment?
The next thing to consider is how did the injury occur. In order to be covered under a worker’s compensation policy, you must have been actually doing your job. You had to be in a place your were supposed to be, doing something you were supposed to be doing, during work hours. If your boss told you to do it – then it was probably in the course of employment.
Second, the injury must ‘arise out of the employment’. What that means is that the type of job you were doing made the injury possible. For example, if you work in a warehouse and a large box falls from a shelf and hits you while you are stocking shelves, the injury arose out of your employment.
How much will I receive?
Depending on your injury, you may be compensated for temporary disability, permanent disability, medical expenses, rehabilitation and lost or reduced wages. The amount received is based on a formula that each state uses which takes into consideration factors such as the severity of the injury, average wages in the state, and time of disability.
I have been injured at work, what do I do?
The first thing to do is file a claim with your state’s workers compensation commission. The claim will be reviewed and, after an investigation, you will receive an award or denial.
You should always seek legal advice before filing a worker’s compensation claim. By law, your attorney is limited to what he or she can charge, and it is normally a percentage of your award, which means your attorney is working to get you the maximum amount possible. There are many aspects of your case where an experienced workers compensation attorney is important.: the Hearings, the proper filing of paperwork, and negotiation with the insurance company are a few examples.