Workers’ compensation benefits may look different for you compared to others you know who have been injured on the job. That’s because each situation is different, as is the way that your company, insurance company, and your state handle workers’ compensation claims.
While it would be nice to think that you will always receive the benefits you deserve for your on-the-job injury or illness, there could be a number of situations where you should consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to get insight and advice on the best path to take in your case.
What is Workers’ Compensation Law?
Workers’ Compensation is designed to provide for the death wages and lost wages of workplace-related illness and injury. While the benefits and levels of compensation can vary depending on the state you’re in as well as your disability level (percentage), here are some of the standard benefits you may be eligible for.
- Medical treatment
- Compensation for time off work and/or lost wages
- Permanent Total Disability compensation
- Permanent Partial Disability compensation
Certain industries and job types facilitate the greatest number of work-related injuries, including truck drivers, repair workers, laborers, janitors, registered nurses, construction workers, and stocking clerks. The level of compensation varies depending on what type of injury it is, as well as what the injury entails, with car accidents paying out an average of $78,000.
What Common Injuries are Covered Under Workers’ Comp?
While there could be any number of workplace injuries that are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there are a few consistent injuries that tend to be associated with workplace injury and illness. These types of injuries often include actions and activities that happen because of poor training and implementation of safety protocols while on-site and at the workplace.
- Occupational illnesses: Asbestosis or exposure could affect you. Or it could be the effects of other dangerous or hazardous materials. You could also be exposed to a contagious illness or other ailment related to the work you do.
- Repetitive motion and overuse injuries: We can associate these types of injuries with tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and back problems. It could be related to retail work, computer work (typing), or other work related to regular and ongoing tasks that work the same muscles without rest or proper care and considerations.
- Job-related mental health issues: These issues could be the side effects of stress, PTSD, or a range of other related conditions that affect your ability to function well within the scope of a day-to-day work situation. Incidents that happen at the workplace while you were there can also directly relate to job-related mental health concerns.
- Hearing damage: Extreme noises could seriously compromise your auditory health at work or while you’re traveling. Your auditory health can be affected by all sorts of negative influences. You could avoid many of the worst culprits for hearing damage. At the very least, you could better mitigated with proper training and safety policies. The important thing is to understand the significance of the loss and work to mitigate the effects.
While this list is not exhaustive, it gives you a general idea of what you can expect from a benefits’ analysis point of view. It also offers some insight into the complexities of the workers’ comp process and procedures. You might already have noticed a few reasons why you might want to consult with a lawyer to learn more about your rights and what you can do to be successful in your workers’ comp claim.
Why Could Your Workers’ Comp Claim Be Denied?
You might think that if you were injured on the job, you’re guaranteed a workers’ compensation claim, but that’s not exactly true. You need to see a doctor to prove that the injury or illness took place while you were on the job. But there could be any number of reasons why the insurance company denies your claim. Here are a few reasons your claim could be denied.
- You didn’t report your injury quickly enough, at least according to the employer or insurance company. (You may not have been aware that you needed to formally report your injury or illness.)
- Nobody witnessed the injury or illness, which makes it hard for you to prove that it happened while you were at work.
- The accident report does not synch up with indications in your medical records.
- You may have pre-existing conditions that may make the process of proving that the injury is work-related.
- Your blood was tested, indicating the presence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- The insurance company denies that the treatment is directly related with what happened at work.
Even if you feel that you have more than enough evidence to prove that your injury was an on-the-job injury or illness, you may not be able to prove it to the satisfaction of the doctors, insurance providers, or other on-the-job personnel. What you need is the assistance of an attorney, who can help you understand the options open to you.
Can Hiring an Attorney Increase My Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Of course, a lawyer cannot guarantee that you’ll receive workers’ compensation benefits, but it will always benefit you to have a knowledgeable person on your side. A lawyer can offer legal consulting on what to do to qualify for workers’ compensation, and he/she can also represent your best interests in the case.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you build a case that’s more effective, but he/she can also consult with you about options for personal injury lawsuits, workers’ compensation claims, or other monetary solutions to bridge the gap while you recover from your temporary or permanent disability. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic situation for your employer and/or the insurance company to deny your claim.
Next Step: Schedule a Consult with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
There could be any number of ways that your workers’ compensation case could go the wrong way, leaving you with a denial and a long recovery without a check. The biggest reason for hiring a workers’ comp attorney is to get help in proving that your injury was a legitimate, on-the-job injury and that you have real needs for medical care right away.
Your lawyer can do the research, fight the insurance company, and help to make sure that you get the medical care and treatment that you deserve. Just because it might take time for the full impact of your injuries to reveal themselves should not mean that you’re left out in the cold without medical care, treatment, compensation, or help to navigate the uncertainties of workers’ compensation vagaries. It’s never too early to call a workers’ compensation lawyer… but it could be too late if you wait.