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The workplace is one of the most common places for people to get injured. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 2.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2020.
While some workplace injuries are minor and don’t require much more than a band-aid, others are much more serious and can result in missed work, expensive medical bills, and even long-term disability.
This is where workers’ compensation comes in. If you’re new to workers’ compensation, here’s what you need to know.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system of insurance that provides benefits to employees injured or who become ill due to their job. Benefits can include medical expenses, income replacement, and death benefits.
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Workers’ compensation is typically mandatory in most states, meaning employers must provide their employees coverage.
How Does it Work?
Workers’ compensation is usually handled through an insurance policy purchased by the employer. In some states, however, employers may be self-insured.
When an employee is injured or becomes ill due to their job, they will typically file a claim with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. The insurer will then provide the employee benefits based on the injury or illness severity.
Sometimes, employees may be hesitant to file a claim for fear of retaliation from their employer. It’s important to know that most states have laws protecting employees from being fired or retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
You may need the help of an experienced workplace injury attorney to file a claim for a workplace injury. An attorney can also help you if your claim is denied or you’re not receiving the necessary benefits.
Can Your Workplace Injury Claim Be Denied?
While most workplace injury claims are processed without issue, there are certain circumstances where a claim may be denied. The most common reason for denial is that the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance. Other reasons for denial include:
- The job did not cause the injury
- The employee was intoxicated at the time of the accident
- The employee intentionally injured themselves
- The employee did not report the injury within the required time frame
The steps you take after your workplace injury can majorly impact your workers’ compensation claim. Be sure to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible and seek medical attention if needed. You should also avoid giving recorded statements or signing release forms without first consulting with an attorney.
If your claim is denied, you may still be able to receive benefits by appealing the decision. Contact an experienced workplace injury attorney to discuss your options.
What Benefits Are Available Through Workers’ Compensation?
The type and amount of benefits you’re entitled to will depend on your injury or illness severity. Common types of benefits include:
- Medical benefits: You may be entitled to have your medical expenses covered, including hospitalization, surgeries, and doctor’s visits.
- Income replacement benefits: If you cannot work due to your injury or illness, you may be eligible for income replacement benefits. These benefits can give you a portion of your lost wages while out of work.
- Death benefits: If an employee is killed due to their job, their surviving family members may be eligible for death benefits.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The time frame for filing a workers’ compensation claim varies from state to state. In most cases, you will have between 30 and 90 days from the date of your injury to file a claim. If you miss the deadline, you may still be able to file a claim if you can prove that your delay was due to extenuating circumstances.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a complex and confusing process. An experienced workplace injury attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to.
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