Many state laws use the term Workman’s Compensation or “Workmans Comp” to refer to the same administrative agencies. If you are injured at work, workers compensation operates outside of traditional courts to compensate you for those injuries. Typical types of compensation you may receive include:
- Money for past and future lost wages
- Light duty (work restriction) assignments during recovery
- Payment of medical bills
- Retraining (vocational rehabilitation)
This administrative process provides a benefit to workers and employers. Injured workers often receive their compensation much faster than if there had been a lawsuit, and employers avoid the expense of defending traditional court cases.
The Hearing Process
Although the laws vary by state, generally you must bring your claim for on-the-job injuries (work-related claim) through the workers compensation administrative agency. This is usually your exclusive remedy.
Work-related claims must be brought within the time limit provided by your state’s laws (statute of limitations). Even if you are not in pain or have a visible injury, you should report every accident to your employer as it happens, in case injuries develop later. A Workers Compensation Attorney should be contacted in order to ensure that you meet these strict deadlines and identify all of your claims. View qualified lawyers and Workmans Compensation Law Firms in your area to find to get help with this process and file any Workers Compensation Lawsuits that may be within your rights.
You may have a court-like hearing where you must present evidence to prove:
- Compensable damages (whether you are entitled to payment or reimbursement)
- Disability (whether temporary or permanent, partial or whole)
- Amount of lost wages
- Light duty assignments and/or retraining
Injuries are compensable when they:
- Unintentional – a they were not intentionally self-inflicted
- Timing of Occurrence – happened because of and during your employment (this includes injuries that develop over time, such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel)
- Sober – no alcohol or drugs were involved (However, with many drug types it is difficult for an employer to prove impairment at the time of any incident because time ranges of impairment are questionable even positive test results for some drug types).
In some cases, even auto accidents are compensable if they occur during work-related duties (although commuting directly to and from your primary workplace is typically excluded).
Some level of disability is typically assigned to the injury and your ability to work. They are:
- Temporary (you will completely recover from your injury)
- Permanent (you will never completely recover from your injury)
- Partial (either damage to a part of your body or partial inability to work)
- Whole (you are entirely unable to work)
The amount and type of compensation you receive is typically directly related to the disability determination. For example, an injured worker who is determined to have a temporary partial disability will recover far less than were he determined to have a permanent whole disability. Again, an experienced Workers Compensation Attorney should be consulted so that you receive the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
You should expect to help your attorney with your case including:
- Obtaining copies of your relevant medical records and employment records
- Submitting to medical and occupational evaluations second opinions even if your employer or their insurance company had you submit to their evaluation.
Personal injury, Employment Law, Disability Law