Why You May Need a Worker’s Compensation Attorney

Workers’ compensation laws require employers to provide certain benefits to employees who are injured on the job. Employers may be required to provide the injured employee with wage replacements, medical benefits, disability options and occupational rehabilitation support. Some employers attempt to circumvent the law by avoiding or fighting workers’ compensation claims. Keep reading to learn how and why a workers’ compensation lawyer may be needed to defend your legal rights.

What to Do After a Work-related Injury?

Anyone who is hurt while at work or develops a chronic medical issue should immediately report it to their employer. Most state’s workers’ compensation agencies require injuries to be reported within 24 hours. If the condition or illness gradually developed, such as backache or hearing loss, the employee should report it as soon as they learn it was caused by a job task or work condition. Promptly reporting injuries minimizes benefit delays and potential problems. If a medical emergency unexpectedly occurs at work, immediately seek emergency treatment from any provider of your choice. Inform the intake staff and attending doctor that it is a work related injury. They will provide mandatory paperwork for you to fill out. It is best to use available online resources to learn more about workers’ compensation processes and practices.

What are the Standard Benefits?

Workers’ compensation benefits cover medical costs, so they won’t have to pay for doctor visits, medical tests, treatment services, diagnostic tests and prescribed medicines. The travel costs between the injured employee’s home to the health care facility may be reimbursed by the state’s workers’ compensation agency. While injured employees are recuperating at home, they will receive approximately two-thirds to three-fourths wage reimbursement benefits of what they would normally be paid. There are temporary disability benefits for those who cannot immediately return to work.  Permanent disability benefits are available for injured workers who can never completely recover, such as workers whose injuries causes a measurable loss of physical functionality. There are also job displacement vouchers to help pay for skill retraining and enhancement.

Understand Why Certain Companies Fight Claims

Workers compensation laws guarantee injured employees certain benefits. Some companies dislike injuries because it raises their workers’ compensation insurance rates, while decreasing their OSHA safety ranking. The easiest solution is to pressure the injured worker to use their private insurance to deal with the injury. Occasionally employers may push injured employees to refrain from filing a claim or they may encourage them to visit a preferred health care provider who has a good relationship with the company.  If possible, it’s always best to request that the attending doctor releases you to work under a light- or modified-duty restriction. Smart companies will prepare return-to-work packets that include job descriptions and available light-duty jobs for doctors to reference.

Acute Injuries vs. Chronic Illnesses

Unexpected accidents are the most common cause of workers’ compensation claims. Falls, slips and trips are the most common causes of injuries. Other leading causes include being struck by an object or against an object. An injury or illness from chronic movements and long-term exposure to harmful things is difficult to verify. The employee must  prove that their injury or illness developed because of specific work tasks or conditions, so this may be difficult to pinpoint. It is also easier for employers to fight the claim because they may assert that a common injury may have occurred at home. OSHA states that repetitive motion injuries, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), are one of the leading causes of worker injuries.

A workers’ compensation lawyer may be required to defend your rights and the validity of your claim. If you have been injured while on the job, it’s always helpful to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer for advice and direction.