Rights and Benefits

Worker’s Compensation, or worker’s comp, refers to the benefits an individual is entitled to after an accident that occurred at work, as provided by the law. Each state has different laws about what an injured employee must do to receive these benefits, although it is usually similar to filing an insurance claim. The laws for each state will determine the system through which one must go through to receive benefits. In most states, it is required to report your injury to your employer shortly after it was sustained; therefore, it may be best to report the injury right after it happened. After reporting, you must go through the court system in place in your state for worker’s compensation as a way to make sure the court and correct insurance companies are aware of the injuries. If the claim is denied and you are not receiving the rights entitled to you, you may, nevertheless, have grounds for a worker’s compensation case.

What are my rights?
The way an injured employee must report the accident varies state to state, and the rights you are entitled to also vary. However, the following are general rights that are common in most states:

  • Right to report/file a claim to the appropriate court for an injury or illness
  • Right to pursue medical advice and treatment
  • Right to return to work, if recommended by a physician to return to work
  • Right to disability compensation, if unable to return to work or advised to not return to work either temporarily or permanently
  • Right to appeal a decision made by your employer or the court system regarding your injury and possible worker’s compensation benefits
  • Right to having a lawyer represent you

With all of these mentioned rights, you also have the right to refuse an action. This typically refers to the right to say no to an employer trying to avoid a worker’s compensation claim by offering an incentive or telling you to use your own health insurance. In both of these instances, the injured party can say no and file a claim through the state’s court system for worker’s compensation benefits.

What benefits am I entitled to?
The benefits of a worker’s compensation claim vary by state and by job. In some cases, specific occupations are exempt from worker’s compensation. Some states require that an employer have a certain number of employees for worker’s compensation insurance coverage. However, in general the general categories of possible benefits include:

  • Total disability (if you cannot work at all after the injury)
  • Temporary total disability (for the time while you cannot work at all)
  • Permanent partial disability (compensation set by each states for particular injuries)
  • Medical bills
  • Your claim will usually result in a lump sum payment for permanency at the conclusion

Benefits other than monetary compensations in the categories listed above may also be options in your state. For instance, vocational rehabilitation may be the responsibility of the employer so the injured party can learn to work a job with your current abilities. In some cases, a replacement job must be offered, if available within the employer company.

It is important to note that worker’s compensation is not a lawsuit against the employer. Instead, it is simply filing a claim to receive benefits mentioned above, similar to an insurance claim. If you believe your injuries were a result of a third party, such as a machine manufacturer or driver of another vehicle that caused your accident, you may be able to sue that third party for negligence.

For assistance with your legal matter, we invite you to call on our trial attorneys to ascertain how the law firm of W. Morris Taylor, P.C., can put over 80 combined years of legal experience to work for you, call us at (314) 725-7000, or contact us online. Discover how we earned our reputation for excellence and our track record of success.

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