Workers' Compensation

Most employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This kind of insurance compensates workers for injuries suffered during the course of employment. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, but all are designed to protect injured workers by ensuring their medical expenses are covered and that they are paid a portion of their wages while they are out of work.

Workers’ compensation benefits are unique and different from personal injury claims. To be entitled to benefits, an injured employee does not have to prove that the employer was negligent in his treatment of the worker. The injured employee need only show that the accident arose during the course and scope of his employment. The work-related injury does not even have to occur on company property; workers who are injured in accidents while driving on company business or who are hurt while representing the company at a trade show, etc., are also covered. In addition, workers’ compensation will also cover workers whose injuries are related to occupational illnesses. This category may include such things as repetitive motion injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome) or diseases like black lung which is known to affect workers in certain industries. In most states, however, the employee will not be compensated for injury resulting from the employee’s willful intent to injure or kill him or her self, voluntary intoxication, or being under the influence of non-prescribed controlled substances.

A workers’ compensation claim is almost always the only claim an employee can bring against the employer. Even if the employer negligently caused the injury, the employee’s exclusive remedy will be the workers’ compensation claim. The employee may, however, be able to sue a third party for his injuries in an appropriate case.

What to do if you have been injured on the job:

If you are injured on the job, you must immediately give your employer written notice of your injury. If the injury is severe, notice should be given as soon as possible after medical care is received. Your employee handbook should tell you exactly who you should notify and how. If you have no handbook or it is unclear as to who should be notified or how, tell your supervisor or the owner of the company. Note that while the time frame within which you must notify your employer may vary slightly from state to state, all states have specific time limits after which you will not be able to file a claim and usually these time limits are very short.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits:

The injured employee is entitled to receive payment for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, including treatment and supplies. Some states require that you be treated by a doctor from a list your employer provides. Most states require this list be posted in a break room or on a notice board available to all employees. Ask your supervisor or HR department for details. In all cases, you should tell the hospital or doctor that your injury occurred on the job and is a workers’ compensation claim so they will file the appropriate paperwork.

Workers’ compensation benefits differ from state to state. To learn more about benefits and rules in your state, click the link below:

It is important to remember that if you are injured on the job you may have a cause of action against a third party as well as against your employer. In those cases you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits against your employer and sue any third party that may have caused your injury. However, the employee may not recover twice for the same injury and, as such, the workers compensation carrier will usually be entitled to recover all amounts it has paid on the injured employee’s behalf from the employee if the employee wins that amount or more from the third party who caused the accident. As an example, if you were driving office supplies from one company office to another and were injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, his insurance would likely end up paying for your medical expenses, lost wages, etc. If these expenses were initially paid by workers’ compensation, you would typically have to repay any monies recovered from your settlement to the workers’ comp insurance carrier.

Federal Law on Work-Related Injuries:

The laws and rules noted above usually do not apply to employees of the federal government or of railroad companies or seamen.

Our lawyers at Merritt Webb are anxious to aggressively represent your interests and ensure you receive just compensation for your work-related injuries and losses. If you need our help with a workers’ compensation claim, call us at 1.800.556.8404.

The workers’ compensation attorneys at Merritt Webb are ready to help you deal with this problem quickly, decisively and efficiently. Just Contact Us.

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