We all put forth a lot of effort in our jobs. Will our job, however, work hard for us if we are hurt on the job? In most states, workers' compensation is the exclusive recourse for employees who are injured on the job. Most workers' compensation claims must adhere to specific procedural standards that can be difficult for the average person to comprehend. The Workers' Compensation area of FindLaw contains tools and information about the challenges that may emerge from a workers' compensation claim.
This section provides information on workers' rights to workplace safety, specifics on benefits for injured workers, and the employer's responsibilities under most state and federal systems. You will also find detailed information for wounded train employees and construction workers, ranging from the fundamentals of worksite accidents to particular on scaffold injuries. Finally, this part contains information on each stage of the workers' compensation claims procedure as well as contact information for competent workers' compensation attorneys.
Insurance for Workers' Compensation
The first step in filing a workers' compensation claim is verifying if you are insured. In general, your coverage is determined by two major factors:
- Whether you are an employee or a customer
- Whether or not your injury was caused by your job.
However, neither of these elements is an absolute assurance that you will be covered by workers' compensation, as some employees are not. Coverage is often determined by the regulations of your state. Workers' compensation also does not cover injuries that were intentionally caused or occurred while the employee was inebriated.
Employee Rights and Employer Obligations
Employees are responsible for adhering to workplace laws and regulations and reporting any injuries as soon as possible. Employees must also engage with rehabilitation service providers or risk having their wage loss benefits reduced, if not suspended. An employee has a right to lost income and vocational retraining if he or she meets workers' compensation requirements.
Employers must also satisfy statutory and regulatory obligations in addition to giving lost income and rehabilitative chances. These can differ from one state to the next. Some jurisdictions, for example, require companies to provide rehabilitative counselling to any employee who has been injured and has missed 60 days of work, but other states give employers 120 days if the accident has resulted in a loss of “suitable gainful employment.” Employers in some states may be compelled to pay tuition, living expenses, room and board, child care fees, and travel expenses in addition to ordinary income loss compensation if an employee participates in specific vocational rehabilitation programs.
Benefits from Workers' Compensation
In addition to the recovery of wages lost due to inability to work, wounded employees may be eligible for rehabilitation payments. In the context of workers' compensation, the term “rehabilitation” has two separate connotations. The first is what most people associate with rehabilitation: physical therapy or rehabilitative care focused on overcoming an injury and restoring functionality. The second concept is that of “vocational” rehabilitation. Many states provide this type of rehabilitation to wounded workers who are unable to return to their previous jobs, frequently at the expense of their employer's workers' compensation insurer.
Obtaining the Services of a Workers' Compensation Attorney
If you sue your employer for workplace injuries, you may be barred from receiving workers' compensation payments. Having said that, it never hurts to consult with a worker's compensation attorney if you have questions regarding your injury, whether it's covered, and what constitutes appropriate compensation.
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