6 Important Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about Worker’s Compensation Claim
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The workers’ compensation program was created to protect employees injured on the job. Typically, casual and contractual employees may not receive benefits covered under this program. These benefits may include medical costs, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.
Workers’ compensation program is a state-mandated insurance program. Usually, state governments require companies to register for this program through a private or a state insurer. However, the bigger companies can be self-insured. The cost of this insurance can vary depending on the type of insurance provider and the industry.
Unfortunately, most employers try to fight your compensation claim. Even worse, they can deny your claim. This problem comes up frequently because insurance companies try to get the best outcome for themselves and limit your claim to save as much money as possible. The following six facts can help you strengthen your worker’s compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation Laws Vary from State to State
Workers’ compensation program, also known as workman’s comp, is regulated by state governments. The regulations and rules are designed to suit the local requirements. There can be significant differences in the claim process, calculation of premiums and benefits covered under the program. So, you need to hire an experienced lawyer who knows your state’s workers’ compensation law inside out. Even the best workers compensation attorney from Chicago can’t help you to file a claim anywhere, but only in the state of Illinois. The bottom line is you need to hire a local lawyer.
Most state governments in the United States may use public funds to cover workers’ benefits under this program. However, companies are required to have insurance coverage to pay for these benefits. Workers’ Compensation Insurance is paid entirely by the employer. No payroll deductions are made from individual workers’ paychecks. Click here to know more about the state-by-state comparison of workers’ compensation laws.
Most Lawyers Will Work on Contingency Basis
Most lawyers handling workers’ comp cases will work on contingency basis. Usually, your attorney receives a percentage of the settlement awarded to you. If you lose, there is no fee. However, a few law firms may charge you for out-of-pocket expenses even if you lose your case. These expenses may include, but are not limited to, the cost of depositions, acquiring medical records, expert witness fees, independent medical examinations, court fees, and travel expenses. Make sure to speak with your attorney about the fee structure before signing the representation agreement.
State laws tightly regulate the lawyers’ fees in workers’ compensation cases. In fact, each state has a Workers Compensation Commission or Board that will place a certain cap on the attorney fees. Usually, the maximum cap limit is either 25% or 33% of the compensation awarded to the injured employee.
You Need Not Prove That Your Employer Was at Fault
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault program. So, you don’t have to prove your employers’ fault to get workman’s compensation. Usually, the amount of compensation is not affected by the degree of your carelessness or your employer’s fault. However, you may lose your workman’s comp if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at work, breaking the law, or were injured during horseplay. Nonetheless, you should consult with your attorney before filing a claim.
Workers Compensation Program Offers More Than Just Monetary Compensation
Workers’ compensation program not only covers medical bills, but also helps you during your recovery phase. Most states provide injured workers with rehabilitation rights. In several states, employees who can’t return to work due to workplace injuries are entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits may vary depending on the seriousness of your injury and your state’s workers’ compensation law. Usually, your employer is required to help you with job search, on-the-job training, education and tuition fees.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud May Result in Severe Penalties
Workers, employers or health care providers may try to commit workers’ compensation fraud. Employees may falsify injuries and written statements to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. They may also hide pre-existing injuries and exaggerate the extent of their injuries to receive higher compensation. However, employee frauds are virtually non-existent. As a matter of fact, only 1 out of top 10 workers’ compensation fraud cases was carried out by the employees in the last year.
Employers may misrepresent their workers’ compensation coverage to lower the insurance costs. In several cases, an employer may work with his/her employees and the company doctor to commit a fraud. However, most states have enacted stringent laws to curb the widespread compensation fraud. Cheaters may be liable to fines of up to $10,000 and possible jail time.
Timing Is Key To Workers’ Compensation Claims
You are required to file a workers’ compensation claim within the certain time limit because time-barred claims can be denied. The legal term for this time limit is called the statute of limitations. The time limit for filing a claim may vary from state to state. It may also vary depending on the seriousness of your injuries.
Typically, you are required to file a minor or moderate claim within 30 to 90 days. But, the time limit may be stretched considerably in case of severe injuries that may result in coma or render the worker unable to file a claim. The time limit to file a claim can also be extended in case of occupational diseases or injuries resulting in disabilities.
Nonetheless, reporting your injuries to your employer as early as possible is key to a successful claim. Even if you have considerable time to file a claim, you should report your injuries to your company immediately. If you have any doubts, you should consult a workers’ compensation attorney right away.
In almost every state, employers are required to buy workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance covers medical expenses, lost wages and other benefits for an employee injured on the job. However, the insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible keeping your employer’s best interest at heart. Therefore, you need to consult an experienced workers’ comp attorney to file a successful claim. You will be better equipped to litigate your claim if you understand the key facts about the workers’ compensation program in your jurisdiction.
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