For the majority of my clients, they have never had to deal with a workers compensation case, and chances are it’s your first time as well. By working with the right workers compensation attorney, Gross Law can make the situation much more clear to you. Understanding more about the specifics of workers compensation can not only give you peace of mind, but also prepare you for the legal battle ahead to ensure that your rights are upheld. If you are currently dealing with a workers compensation case, read the following answers to frequently asked questions.
WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated program that provides compensation to employees who have been injured on the job. An injured worker is entitled to collect benefits for an injury, regardless of who was at fault.
INJURIES COVERED BY THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT
The Act applies to ALL injuries that occur during the course and scope of employment. It even applies if you have a pre-existing condition. For example, if you have a bad back and you aggravate or somehow worsen that condition, you are still entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Injuries can be sustained during a one-time event (like a slip and fall) or they can also be sustained from repetitive trauma (for example, frequent lifting).
PUTTING YOUR EMPLOYER ON NOTICE
By law, you have 120 days to report your injury to your employer. This time begins from the date of your injury, or the date you knew a condition was related to your job duties. Failure to give notice within 120 days will bar you from collecting any benefits even if you satisfy all other requirements.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS
Workers’ compensation benefits cover lost wages (beginning on the 8th day of disability) and payment for reasonable, necessary and related medical expenses. You can collect total disability benefits if you are unable to work completely, or you may also be entitled to a partial benefit if your work injury has caused a reduction (but not total loss) of earnings. There are other benefits which include specific loss and death benefits, but these are far less common.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FORMS
There are dozens of forms involved in a workers’ compensation case. Every form is important because it can impact your right to benefits. Do not sign any documents unless you fully understand the contents and effects of what you are signing. If you receive documents from the insurance company or your employer, contact Gross Law Office immediately to be certain you understand your rights.
WHY IS MY CLAIM BEING DENIED?
There are many reasons an insurance company will deny a claim for benefits. Maybe the insurance company received inaccurate information about your case; or maybe the insurance company did not have all of the necessary information to properly analyze your claim. If your claim for benefits is denied, don’t give up! Many successful claims begin with a denial. Call Gross Law Office to find out how you can proceed with a claim for benefits.
HOW CAN I AFFORD AN ATTORNEY?
No money is required to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. Lawyers who represent injured workers are paid based upon a contingent arrangement. This means that the attorney will not charge anything unless he or she is able to either get you workers’ compensation benefits, or protect you from having your benefits stopped. If the attorney is successful, the fee will generally be a percentage of your workers’ compensation check.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
Yes. Only a lawyer can represent an injured worker at a workers’ compensation hearing. Litigating a case will require a lawyer to take depositions, perform cross-examination of witnesses, make legal arguments and submit court documents. The injured worker needs an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation law to ensure that they receive the best advocacy and representation. Gross Law Office specializes in workers’ compensation matters and will fight to protect your rights.