What is Workers’ Compensation?
If you have a work-related injury or illness, your employer is required by law to pay for workers’ compensation benefits. You could get hurt by one event at work, such as hurting your back in a fall, getting burned by a chemical that splashes on your skin or getting hurt in a car accident while making deliveries. This also applies to repeated exposures at work, such as hurting your wrist from doing the same motion over and over or losing your hearing because of constant loud noise.
What benefits am I entitled to?
Workers’ comp insurance provides five basic benefits:
- Medical care: Paid for by your employer to help you recover from an injury or illness caused by work
- Temporary disability benefits: Payments if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering
- Permanent disability benefits: Payments if you don’t recover completely
- Supplemental job displacement benefits (if your date of injury is in 2004 or later): Vouchers to help pay for retraining or skill enhancement if you don’t recover completely and don’t return to work for your employer
- Death benefits: Payments to your spouse, children or other dependents if you die from a job injury or illness.
After an injury or illness occurs, your employer must:
- Provide a workers’ compensation claim form to you within one working day when a work-related injury or illness is reported
- Return a completed copy of the claim form to you within one working day of receipt
- Forward the claim form, along with the employer’s report of occupational injury or illness, to the claims administrator within one working day of receipt
- Within one day of receiving your claim, authorize up to $10,000 in appropriate medical treatment
- Provide transitional work (light duty) whenever appropriate
- If you are the victim of a crime that happened at work, the employer must give notice of workers’ compensation eligibility within one working day of the crime.
Can my employer take part of my check to pay for workers’ compensation insurance?
No. Workers’ compensation insurance is part of the cost of doing business. An employer cannot ask you to help pay for the insurance premium.
What happens if my employer is uninsured and I’m hurt on the job?
Failing to have workers’ compensation coverage is a criminal offense, a misdemeanor punishable by either a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or both. Additionally, the state issues penalties of up to $100,000 against illegally uninsured employers.
If you have a work-related injury or illness and your employer is not insured, your employer is responsible for paying all bills related to your injury or illness. Workers’ compensation benefits are only the exclusive remedy for injuries suffered on the job when your employer is properly insured. If your employer is illegally uninsured and you have a work-related injury or illness, you can file a civil action against your employer in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
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Why do I need an attorney?
Often times a person may not need an attorney to file and receive a workers compensation claim. However, if you find yourself in a tough situation with no money coming in and you are unsure what to do next, do not hesitate to contact the Hunt Law Group where we pride ourselves on getting injured people the compensation they deserve.