What Is Workers Compensation?
Each state has a system of laws generally referred to as workers compensation. These laws vary from state-to-state and by occupation, but they ultimately serve to protect workers and ensure that employees who suffer injury due to work accidents receive proper compensation including benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
State worker's compensation systems are intended to provide relief for injured workers while protecting employers from liability claims. A number of federal statutes exist to protect those injured in the line of railroad, mining, maritime, and other types of employment.
Injuries on the job are a relatively common occurrence. While most work accidents result in minor injuries like cuts or burns, work accidents can result in severe injuries, long-term disability or death.
Regardless of whether the injury is minor or severe, workers have a right to receive compensation for injuries they incur at work. If you have suffered injury because of a work accident, you may wish to contact a qualified worker's compensation attorney who can help you determine your eligibility for benefits.
What If I Don't Have Health Insurance?
You can still file a workers compensation claim even if you do not have individual health insurance coverage . Most employers are required by law to have workers compensation insurance for their employees. Workers who are injured on the job or because of their job can file a claim with their employer's workers compensation insurance carrier.
In other words, employees who
have been injured in a work
accident receive benefits through
their employer's insurance and
not their own.
What Types of Injuries Does Workers Compensation Cover?
While the following list is not comprehensive, it does cover some of the more common work-related injuries covered by workers compensation:
Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
Mental and/or physical strain caused by work-related stress.
Preexisting conditions worsened by job duties or the work environment. A common example is back injury.
Diseases contracted due to repeated and prolonged exposure to toxins at work. I.e.: Asbestos poisoning
Injuries sustained on company grounds while “off the clock”
There are injuries that workers compensation will not cover. These include self-inflicted injuries, injuries sustained during the commission of a crime, or injuries suffered due to employee misconduct.
You should consult a qualified attorney if you have questions regarding injuries you suffered as the result of a work accident.
What Should I Do If I've Been Injured At Work?
First and foremost, you should report the injury to your employer. Next, ask your employer for a claim form and file a claim . In workers compensation cases, time is of the essence since you only have a limited amount of time to file your claim.
Finally, if you have been involved in a work accident, the most important thing to do is document everything. It may be wise to start a file and include the following:
Notes regarding exactly what happened before, during, and after the incident .
Documentation regarding the extent of your injuries (for example, photos and medical records)
A log of your conversations with insurance adjusters, doctors, lawyers, witnesses, etc.
Other pertinent information including important letters and medical bills
It is also important to
keep all evidence of
your injury. Depending on the
nature of the incident, the
evidence may include photos
of damaged property or the scene
of the accident as well as any
defective product or piece of
equipment, which may have been
Can I File A Claim Against My Employer?
Workers Compensation laws were established not only to protect workers, but also to protect employers.
Because most employers are required by law to provide workers compensation insurance for their employees, they are protected by the law from defending themselves against personal injury claims by employees.
This is not to say that you cannot sue your employer. However, it does limit the grounds on which you can sue an employer.
Essentially, workers compensation is a no-fault system, which means that negligence is not an issue. Employees who sustain work-related injuries due to a defective product or machinery may pursue a third party claim. These claims are usually filed against manufacturers of faulty products or equipment.
Know Your Rights
Workers compensation is a complex system of laws with specific guidelines and procedures. If you have been injured in a work accident, you may be entitled to receive benefits. An experienced workers compensation attorney can help you recover damages and ensure that your rights are protected.