Given the current situation, the last thing a family needs right now is one of its members to suffer an injury while at work. If the harm is severe, it means medical bills to pay, partial wage losses, perhaps hospitalization, sudden and disruptive changes in a family’s everyday routines and economic strategies, etc. Luckily, most employees have the choice to receive workers’ compensation from their employers and thus benefit from some coverage for the unforeseen troubles any work-related injury brigs on a personal and familial level. However, there are some things related to workers’ comp that you might not know, and this is why we are here today!
What Kind of Protection Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Offer?
Workers’ compensation insurance is there to protect both employers and employees while sparing all parties involved (together with the taxpayers) of the insane costs of court trials. Considered by many a “compensation bargain,” this type of insurance is a publicly sponsored system. If an employee suffers an injury at work, under the workers’ comp, they can receive monetary benefits in the form of medical bills coverage or the equivalent of sick pay while on medical leave for those injuries.
As much as it is thriving as a program, workers’ compensation insurance comes with some caveats that most people either do not know or disregard completely.
- Since it is a “bargain,” workers’ comp shields employers from lawsuits against them in case a worker suffered injuries while on the job. By offering workers’ comp, most companies consent to a certain amount of liability. They do that because, in the case of a personal injury lawsuit or a class action suit for negligence, the damages would be significantly greater.
- If you hurt yourself while at work and have workers’ comp, you should check with your state’s workers’ compensation policies. As it happens with most types of insurances across the nation, the lack of federal standards for workers’ compensation means that your state can have wildly different policies for the same work injury than others.
In other words, read the literature carefully on both state and your company’s policies regarding at-work injuries and compensation claims. Movies and TV promote all sorts of myths about personal injuries claims. Courtroom dramas are full of skilled, passionate, and oratory-proficient attorneys who can make juries cry and award injured victims millions in compensation and punitive damages. On the other hand, some of the same legal TV series show companies laugh in the face of their injured employees, believing that their insurance policies are ironclad armors that protect them.
The truth is, as per usual, somewhere in the middle.
Most workers’ compensation policies do not cover damages for pain and suffering or punitive damages for the employer’s negligence. On the other hand, if you, as the injured employee, fail to complete some steps, you might not receive the benefits of your agreed workers’ comp insurance.
How to Make Sure You File a Good Workers’ Comp Claim
In case you don’t know this, some states can reject your workers’ comp claim if you failed to seek an in-person consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney. You jeopardize your action if you hire a law firm without fully disclosing the particularities of your situation.
A worker’s compensation lawyer can always help you with your claim. Given the medical bills piling up in your home, free consultation from an attorney is a godsend if you decide to go on with the claim and receive the compensation you deserve.
Finding a good lawyer that listens, understands, and identifies with your case is usually challenging, and this is why you have to choose carefully. You can start by looking into the law firm’s history and see what similar cases they closed successfully. For example, you can hire Bader Scott for pain and suffering compensations on top of the regular payments covered by the insurance. In finding a skilled lawyer, check the total amount the firm won in the past three to five years from these types of claims. It is a good indicator of a law firm’s ability to deal with such kinds of settlements.
However, having the best lawyer by your side – for compensation claims or pain and suffering damages claims – does not always guarantee your win.
What to Do to Increase Your Chances of Success with Your Claim
You should know that filing a worker’s compensation claim is not an open-and-shut case. It can be a legislative mess. The documentation you need to gather will most likely give you more pain than the ones you are experiencing from your injury. So, here are the minimal steps to take if you want your action to be successful:
- Report the work-related injury to your employer immediately, without fearing any penalties for doing so;
- Seek medical attention, document your medical treatments, and never miss a doctor’s appointment;
- Get a consultation with a workers’ comp attorney to see if you have a case and what type of case you have;
- Always cooperate with the doctors and attorneys regarding the courses of action they recommend;
- In your claim, do not exaggerate your injuries, as workers’ comp is susceptible to insurance fraud, and it is the last thing you want;
- Also, do not lie about where you got your injuries. If you tripped and fell in the office, you may have grounds for a claim. Instead, if you fell during lunch break in front of the building, your lawyer needs to know every single detail of this event.
- Be open and honest about your pre-existing health conditions to both your doctor and lawyer;
- Refrain from making a fuss on social media regarding your work-related injury, your personal life, or your claim.
If you file an ironclad claim, your workers’ comp insurance will pay for your medical bills, the lost wages, and other expenses you had to make along the way (including the mileage of your trips to the doctor in some cases). Nevertheless, it is necessary to have an attorney by your side from the start and always be honest about the circumstances and severity of your work injuries.