According to USA’s Workers’ Compensation Act, it is the law that requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance to every employee, even if they hire a single unpaid intern.
This act safeguards the rights of employees in case of any work-related injury or illness. And provide them with adequate compensations and benefits.
Thankfully, there are many worker’s compensation law firms and worker’s compensation lawyers that help protect the rights of employees. It is estimated that almost 91% of the employees in Illinois are covered under the act.
The 10 most common benefits from workers’ compensation claims to help facilitate the employees are
1. Medicare and Treatment benefits
All work-related injuries and illnesses are treated through the workers’ compensation claims. This includes everything from doctor’s fee, medical tests, any medical procedures required e.g. stitches or operations, to even therapy.
All the expenses will be beared by the insurance company.
2. Wage loss benefits
If the injured employee is unable to continue their duties due to injuries, then wage loss benefits will be granted to them.
There are two types of wage losses
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)
If the employee misses work for a few days only. Then they’ll be compensated for days missed.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD)
If the employee’s injury is to the extent that they’ll never be able to work again. Then compensation till the age of retirement is granted.
3. Prescribed drugs
The drugs prescribed to the injured employee till the recovery from injury are all beared through the benefits. This includes the cost for delivery of medicine to one’s home.
4. Fuel Reimbursement
The fuel expenses due to hospital visits or visits to doctors are also reimbursed through this claim.
If one does not have personal transport, then transport is provided by the company.
5. Special Modifications to one’s home
If the nature of the injury is such that special equipments and modifications might be needed in your home e.g.
- Wheelchairs lift
- Wheelchair ramps
- Redesigning room for special care
These are also included in the benefits
6. Special equipments
If the injury renders the employee temporarily or permanently disabled, then the cost for special equipments would also be beared by the company
The equipments may include
7. Health care assistant
If the injured person requires special assistance in daily activities from personal assistant e.g. for bathing, dressing, cooking etc. Then this will also be provided by the company.
8. Retraining and reeducation
If work injury prevents the employee from doing their previous jobs, and switching jobs is in their best interest then the expenses for training and education for the new job will be provided by the company.
9. Death benefits
If an employee dies due to work related accidents or injuries, then death benefits will be paid to employee’s spouse and dependent children (till the age of 18).
10. Funeral benefits
All the funeral related expenses will be beared by the company.
It’s no secret that life isn’t easy. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in uncomfortable situations where you will have to make tough decisions.
For example, you might come into contact with delicate information or see something illegal. When this happens, you might find yourself in a position of having to shine a light on misdeeds that could lead to criminal prosecution.
Whistle blowing can be the most stressful thing you’ll ever do. After all, no one wants to have to point the finger at someone else and potentially send them to prison. But when you do, you need to be sure that you don’t become the victim of retribution.
This article takes a look at how to be a whistleblower. Keep reading to discover insight into this topic so that you can make sure that your rights are protected.
Document Everything Possible
Once you’ve made the decision to report the suspicious activity, you’ll need to document everything possible. This includes writing down anything you’ve witnessed, printing digital files, and making copies of any video or audio that might be pertinent to the case at hand.
It’s also important to save emails and other forms of communication and computer content in a location where you’ll have access and won’t have to worry about it possibly getting deleted.
Keep Your Documentation Somewhere Safe & Secure
Next, be sure to hide the documentation somewhere safe and secure so that it won’t get lost or stolen. It’s important to take this action as quickly as possible, especially if people are aware of your intention to bring illicit activities to light. After all, the guilty parties will want to cover their tracks, including the desire to destroy any evidence that could lead to convictions in a court of law.
Be sure to store the documentation outside of the workplace, but not necessarily at home. You might want to consider renting a safe-deposit box or even renting a storage unit on a short-term basis to ensure that the documentation remains safe for as long as necessary.
Get Legal Representation
The next step is to retain legal representation as soon as possible. It’s crucial to find lawyers who specialize in fighting defamation. After all, you can expect your character to be called into question. Thus you’ll need legal representation with experience handling those types of cases.
The sooner you’re able to retain lawyers the better. Because you’ll be threatened, bullied, and manipulated, and you need to make sure that someone has your back and is looking out for your rights.
Skilled lawyers will be able to provide reassurance, offer advice on how to live your life day to day, and coach you on what to expect and how to stay safe during the investigation and potential trial.
The experts at TheWhistleBlower.com can provide the help you need.
Report Your Findings
Once you’ve gathered all necessary documentation and hired solid legal representation, it’s time to report your findings to the appropriate authorities. This will typically involve a law enforcement agency such as the FBI, the Attorney General in your state, or any other office that can respond directly to your allegations.
You should do this as quickly as possible. And try to meet with the law enforcement agency face to face if possible. This will help you communicate more effectively as well as help to build credibility as you discuss the situation.
The purpose of your initial meeting is to report what you’ve personally witnessed or uncovered. Be as thorough as possible and list all evidence you’ve gathered and explain why the evidence is so important to the case.
Limit Who You Talk To
Don’t discuss the situation with anyone outside of your attorneys and the government agency overseeing the case. Resist the impulse to talk about t around family or friends. Keep in mind that rumors and gossip travel fast. That’s why it’s important to keep your mouth shut. Because the more you talk about it, the greater the chance that you might say something that could end up damaging the case or your reputation.
Stay Somewhere Safe
Depending or the situation, you might not feel stay staying at home. Perhaps you could stay with family or friends, at least temporarily until the situation blows over and the heat is off. Every case is different, but just keep in mind that guilty parties will often attempt to locate and silence a whistleblower, especially if the accusation is serious enough.
This ultimately might not be necessary, but it’s always smarter to be safe than sorry.
Save as Much Cash as Possible
You’re going to need as much money on hand as possible. After all, you might be forced to relocate in order to stay safe. This will require cash so that your movements can be tracked.
Whistleblower retaliation should be taken seriously, thus you need to be prepared to act quickly and decisively, and this could require having the financial resources to make any necessary travel or relocation arrangements.
Consider Reaching Out to Journalists
Another aspect of making allegations of crimes such as corporate fraud is the necessity to make the story public. This your chance for journalists to become your allies. After all, it’s crucial for the public to be made aware of crimes so that those who are guilty can be brought to justice.
Know Your Rights
It’s crucial to remember that you can’t be pushed around. You have legal rights that protect you from retaliation. That’s why it’s so important to hire skilled legal counsel and to educate yourself about whistleblower rights.
Try to Stay Positive
One of the most important things you can do for yourself during this emotional and challenging time is to stay positive. This will help you stay as strong and healthy as possible.
Important Tips for How to Be a Whistleblower
There’s nothing easy about telling the truth in the face of hate and threats. And yet bringing criminals to justice is incredibly important. Fortunately, these tips for how to be a whistleblower can help make the process a bit less stressful.
Keep scrolling to discover more great legal tips and advice.
Accidents in the workplace are quite a common incident, and they can happen at any time. The accident might take place due to the negligence of the employee or the employer. Whatever be the case, workers will get compensation for the losses incurred at the workplace. If you are a worker in someplace in Baton Rouge seeking workers compensation, you can seek assistance from Babcock Trial Lawyers. Workplace accidents are covered under the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s workers’ comp program.
The coverage offered in the program is quite extensive. Along with covering the medical bills, there is compensation for the lost wages of the victim. Therefore while the worker recovers from his/her workplace injuries, he/she will keep on receiving payments.
Workers’ compensation offered by employers in Louisiana, Baton Rouge
One great thing in Louisiana is that all employers are entitled to pay their employees workers’ compensation in case of an accident or uneventful circumstance regardless of the number of people who are employed with the employer. All kinds of employees – part-time, seasonal as well as full-time workers are eligible for the benefits under the compensation program. However, independent contractors and contract workers are not entitled to the benefits of the program.
When a person is injured while being on the job, he will obtain medical insurance for the injuries at the workplace. The insurance program will not only cover the medical expenses which are being incurred in the treatment of workplace injuries, but it will also provide wage compensation to the injured employee.
A certain percentage of the lost wages are given to the employee. The injured person gets compensation for the wages till the time the doctor recommends him to be fit to be able to join work again.
The trial lawyers at the law firm know about these compensation programs in detail and guide people well so that they get the best compensations against their workplace injuries.
Workers’ compensation regardless of the fault of employee/employer
If you thought that the workplace injury that you suffered was due to your failure and hence you are not eligible for the compensation, you are mistaken. In Louisiana, workers’ compensation benefits are provided regardless of the fault of the employee or employer. All workers and all injuries are covered by the program irrespective of the kind of accident.
The crucial point is at the time of the accident; an employee has to be present at the job site.
However, there exist a few exceptional clauses. The compensation benefits might be denied if the employee is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.
In such a situation, obtaining help from trial lawyers covering personal injury cases from Babcock Trial Lawyers is recommended. Their guidance can be pivotal in resolving any confusion regarding the legal rights of the impacted workers.
How can Babcock Trial Lawyers help employees in receiving workers’ compensation?
At Babcock Trial Lawyers, many employees have received great workers’ compensation benefits with the help of their proficient personal injury attorneys, specializing in workers’ compensation cases. Right from filing the lawsuit to the completion of the same, the attorneys assist their clients so in gaining maximum compensation for the losses.
Even if an employee has been denied compensation benefits, lawyers from the law firm can re-appeal for the case. The trial lawyer will present all relevant documents, medical reports, accident reports, etc. in court to prove the authenticity of the injuries so that the case is established.
Filing a workers’ comp claim can be stressful and overwhelming; there’s a lot to take into consideration, which can be mentally and emotionally draining. When submitting a workers’ comp claim, it’s essential to know your rights and what you could be entitled to; that’s why hiring a worker’s comp lawyer that is just right for your case is important. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing an attorney; such as does this attorney have my best interest in mind? Or, does this attorney have enough experience and a high success rate?
It’s crucial to do your research to find an attorney in your area that will help you with your workers’ comp case. By not conducting research prior to hiring a lawyer, it’s possible that you could hire an attorney that isn’t right for your case, creating issues down the road.
According to a workers’ compensation lawyer in Philadelphia, if you are unsatisfied with your lawyer’s performance, you have the ability to fire him or her at any time and switch lawyers. However, he points out that switching lawyers during litigation often comes with consequences that can make your case more difficult. Therefore, it’s best to hire a lawyer right off the bat that you know will represent you accurately throughout your workers’ compensation case. Below are a few tips to keep in mind as you decide which worker’s comp lawyer is right for your unique injury and unique claim.
What Should I Look for in a Worker’s Comp Lawyer?
Compiling a list of potential lawyers is easy; however, selecting the one that is best for your case can be challenging. Every workers’ comp lawyer is different, as is every workers’ comp case. Here are some things to look for in your potential workers’ comp lawyer:
An attorney that specializes in workers’ compensation cases
A seemingly obvious thing to look for, however, sometimes lawyers will advertise that they specialize in a particular area, when in fact, they do not. Looking for an attorney that specializes in workers’ comp cases can be done by doing extensive research and reading reviews.
Lawyers specializing in a different area of practice may have some experience with workers’ comp cases, however, if this is not their primary area of practice, it’s advised to look elsewhere for legal assistance. You will not get the same level of legal aid when working with an attorney whose primary area of practice is not workers’ comp.
An attorney that will prioritize your treatment
Choosing an attorney that will prioritize your treatment as well as your case is an important thing to keep in mind. You, of course, are filing a workers’ comp claim because you have been injured on the job and are seeking compensation; the right workers’ comp attorney will recognize your injury and prioritize that just as much as your actual claim.
When choosing your attorney, make sure you choose one that will get you the best medical treatment possible, as well as someone that will fight for your employer or insurance company if there are any claim denials.
An attorney that can answer all of your questions
Knowing what to ask your attorney can be difficult, especially if you aren’t familiar with workers’ comp laws. Upon meeting with an attorney, it’s recommended to come up with a list of questions to ask your potential workers’ comp attorney.
Questions to ask your attorney:
- How long have you been practicing workers’ comp law?
- Will you be working with my case personally?
- Will I be charged if my case isn’t successful?
- If I call, will I speak to you directly?
- What are the strengths of my case?
Finding the Right Workers’ Comp Attorney
Your workers’ comp lawyer should have your best interests in mind to help you win your case and to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Make sure to do appropriate research and to keep these tips in mind when selecting an attorney that is right for your case and your personal needs.
Note: “According to a worker’s compensation lawyer in Philadelphia, if you are unsatisfied with your lawyer’s performance, you have the ability to fire him or her at any time and switch lawyers. However, he points out that switching lawyers during litigation often comes with consequences.”
Anyone can tell you that being fired is a stressful experience. In addition to the obvious financial loss, unemployment can cause a person’s confidence to be shaken and their professional reputation to be damaged. Job termination can be especially painful if you believe you were let go without a good reason. If you feel that you have been discriminated against or that your employer fired you for retaliatory purposes, you may want to consider suing your ex-employer for wrongful termination. There are a few circumstances that you will want to consider when deciding whether or not a lawsuit is necessary.
What is meant by At-Will employment?
The state of Texas is an “at-will” state when it comes to employment law. This means that either the employee or employer may end the working relationship at any time, for any reason. There are a few exceptions to the rules. An employer may not fire you for taking time off for voting or to participate in an emergency evacuation. Your employer may not fire you for refusing to participate in genetic testing at work. A company may not fire you for blowing the whistle on them if they have broken the law.
Knowing when to File a Complaint
If a company has violated your civil rights, you may want to consider a lawsuit. There are a few reasons for termination that are considered legitimate civil rights violations.
Although there may be many things an employer might dislike about an employee, there are certain reasons for which a person may not be fired. The Civil Rights Act. was originally passed as a way to establish equal access to public places. As time progressed, the law was modified to protect workers’ rights and to include the protection of women.
If you think you were fired from a job because of your religion, or your country of origin, you should file a complaint with the EEOC office or with the Texas Workforce Commission—Civil Rights Division. The two offices share work equally, so it should not matter which office you choose. In the State of Texas, you have 180 days from the time when you believe the discrimination began. Federal law allows you 300 days to file, but it is wise to adhere to the state law. Once the claim is filed, you must allow the office 180 days to investigate your claim. If your case violates federal law, it may be removed and sent to Federal Court.
After you have filed your claim, the office you filed with will investigate your claim and send you either a letter of dismissal or a right to sue letter. If you get a right to sue letter, you can proceed to court.
If your employer fired you because you turned them in for violating the law, they have violated the WhistleBlower Protection Act. You can file a lawsuit in federal court.
Breach of Contract
If you have a written contract with your employer and that contract specified that your job will begin and end on a certain date, you may be able to sue that employer for breach of contract. It is a good idea to have an employment lawyer in Dallas look over the agreement that you had. They will be able to tell you if the contract will hold up in court and develop a strategy to negotiate with your employer.
What to Look for in a Lawyer
Be sure to select an attorney with a stellar reputation with the state bar and with their former clients. You should also select someone with years of experience in employment law. With the right representation, you can get the money you are entitled to and move on with your career.
Getting injured at work can have severe negative consequences, some of which are physical, some of which are emotional, and some of which are monetary. Fortunately, however, there are rules in place to minimize the latter. We’re referring to workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation ensures that workers are still paid a portion of their salary in the event of a workplace injury that prevents them from performing their typical tasks. That said, to qualify for compensation, you must meet specific workers’ compensation requirements.
Were you injured at work? Wondering whether you meet these requirements? Read on to find out.
What are the Workers’ Compensation Requirements?
When it comes to requirements for securing workers’ compensation, there are 4 general requirements you must meet. They include the following.
You Must Be Employed By Your Company
First and foremost, you must be employed by the company that you were working for when you were injured. In other words, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation, at least in the vast majority of cases.
As a rule of thumb, you’re only eligible if your employer is paying half of your FICA tax. This would indicate full employment under the rule of law.
Note, however, that independent contractors might be able to sue for damages. For instance, if you’re a subcontractor who gets hurt while performing construction work, you might be able to file a lawsuit against your primary contractor in order to win compensation of some kind.
You Must Have the Right Type of Employment
It’s not just employment that you need in order to obtain workers’ compensation. You need the right type of employment as well. Some types of employs that are not eligible for workers’ compensation include seasonal workers, undocumented workers, agriculture workers, and domestic workers.
Hired through a temporary agency? If so, the company you work for likely doesn’t have to give you workers’ compensation. Note, however, that the agency probably does.
Your Employer Must Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Another requisite for workers’ compensation is that your employer must have workers’ compensation insurance. This is a form of insurance that pays out to eligible employees upon the event of eligible workplace injuries. State laws require most employers to carry it.
Note, however, that not every company is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In some states, companies with less than 3 employees are allowed to operate without it.
In the state of Texas, companies aren’t required to carry workers’ compensation insurance at all. Note, however, that injured employees can still sue for benefits.
By and large, you’ll find that most companies carry workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of whether or not they’re required to by law. Why? Because it reduces the risk of lawsuits being filed.
The Injury Must Be Work-related
Another requirement you must meet is that your injury must be work-related. If your injury did not occur while actually performing work tasks, it’s very unlikely that it’s covered by workers’ compensation.
For instance, let’s say that you’re a warehouse worker and that your hand gets smashed by a heavy box while loading items onto a truck. This would almost undoubtedly be covered by workers’ compensation.
On the other hand, let’s say that you’re at a company retreat and are swimming in a lake. You jump into shallow water and break your leg. Unfortunately, because this didn’t actually occur while at work, it likely won’t be covered by workers’ compensation.
You Must Report and File On Time
One more requirement for workers’ compensation is that you must report and file on time. If you file a claim past your state-mandated deadline, you might not be rewarded with fair compensation.
In most states, you must file your claim within 1 to 3 years of the injury. Note, however, that you may have to report your injury to your employer within 30 days of it occurring.
Exact rules and regulations can be found at your state’s official website. Make sure to abide by the rules in order to optimize your chances of receiving compensation.
How to File for Workers’ Compensation
We’ve covered the requirements for workers‘ compensation. Now, you might be wondering about how to file. We’re going to get into the workers compensation process below.
Report Your Injury to Your Employer
Upon incurring an injury at work, you should report it to your supervisor. It’s recommended that you do this immediately. However, most states give you 30 days.
Once you’ve reported your injury, your employer will likely send you to a doctor. Most companies have doctors that will provide medical assistance at no cost to the employee. However, if you wish, you can go to your own doctor (fees will apply).
Fill Out Necessary Paperwork
Once you’re back from the doctor’s office, you will need to fill out some paperwork. This paperwork will be provided by your employer and will essentially indicate the time and nature of your injury.
Employer Files Claim
Next, your employer will file a claim with its workers’ compensation insurance company. Make note, though, that you may need your doctor to supply a medical report. In some states, your employer will also need to file a claim with the state workers’ compensation board.
Await the Status of Your Claim
After your claim has been filed, you will await the decision of the insurance company and the state board. If your claim is accepted, you will be rewarded with compensation. If it’s not, you have two options: 1. Have your claim reviewed, and 2. Pursue a legal appeal.
Generally speaking, the status of your injury will determine when you go back to work. However, you could be forced into performing lighter duties for the duration of your injury.
Find Other Legal Information
Now that you know a thing or two about workers compensation requirements, you might be looking for other legal information. If so, you’re in the right place. Our website has all the information you need.
Take a look at our other articles now!
Going to work is so ingrained into our daily routine that we sometimes can forget the inherent risk involved in many positions. However, accidents do happen, and many people are injured on the job every day across the country.
Have you been injured while on the clock? If you have been, it’s important that you take the time to understand your workers comp rights. Navigating the worker’s compensation can be complicated, especially if your employer or their insurance company fights back against you.
What actions can they take, and what rights do you have? Can you lose your job after becoming injured? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Can You Lose Your Job After Reporting An Injury?
Sometimes, employees who are injured on the job become worried about reporting their injuries. They often fear some sort of retaliation from their employer. Insurance costs for the company might rise after an employee is hurt, and it’s not entirely unjustified to think that an employer might want to take a reactive action against the said employee.
However, this sort of retaliatory action is against the law. If you can prove that you were terminated from your position due to the filing of a worker’s comp claim, you’d likely have a lawsuit to bring against your former employer.
How does this all work?
Most employees in the United States work on an at-will basis. This means that they are allowed to quit at any moment they choose, just as an employer is allowed to terminate them at any moment. A person can be fired for a variety of reasons, whether it be poor performance, financial difficulty, a restructuring of the company, or something else entirely.
That being said, an employer can not discriminate against an employee or terminate them for reasons that are deemed unethical. Firing someone based soley on their race, religion, age, gender, and so forth is against the law. As is firing someone simply because they fired a worker’s compensation claim.
Without this protection in place, many employees might be too scared to step in and exercise their right to compensation. Luckily, this law is in place to protect vulnerable workers who need it most.
Exceptions To The Rule
That being said, a previously filed worker’s compensation claim does not make you immune to the termination. If an employer can provide sufficient evidence that there is another reason they are letting you go, you can still be terminated following an injury.
Being fired as part of company-wide layoffs, or due to poor performance, can still occur.
In addition, an employer is not required to keep your position open to you following your injury. If you are out of work for a very long period of time due to your injury, the employer can hire another employee for your position. They also, under law, are not required to change a position’s requirements to make it better suited for one’s injuries.
If a person can no longer do a position because they have trouble standing after an accident, they might not be able to get that position back. They will likely receive a great deal of compensation through worker’s compensation: but they might not get their job back.
That being said, if a person has a reasonable ability to return to work and their position in a reasonable amount of time, there is no reason that they should not be allowed back. Attempts to block the reinstatement of an individual is considered illegal in many states.
Some states differ in how they view reinstatement following a worker’s compensation claim. If you are curious about how things work in your state, you should do a little research on current legal policies for your area.
Making A Case Against Your Employer
It can be difficult to prove that you were fired due to your filing of a worker’s compensation complaint. An employer may claim they are firing you for another reason, and many are smart enough not too come out and state this motivation outright.
If you believe your employer has terminated due to your worker’s comp claim, there are certain steps you need to take. First, you should certainly hire a worker’s compensation lawyer who is familiar with common workplace accidents.
Second, you should look for evidence that may help to prove your employer’s true motivations. Were you fired within short proximity of your claim being placed? This can be a solid form of evidence for your case.
If there was any evidence of negative feelings towards your claim from your employer, this can be key to document. If an employer attempted to get you to turn down or withdraw your claim, this can be vital evidence.
It’s also worth examining the reason your employer gave for your termination. If they said it was due to financial difficulty, can they produce evidence that supports that claim? If they said it was for poor behavior, can they prove that behavior in a court of law? If your employer does not have sufficient evidence for the reason they fired you, you can likely win a worker’s compensation case against them.
Understanding Workers Comp Rights
If you’ve been injured at work, it’s vital that you understand your workers comp rights. Employers have been known to take advantage of employees or take retaliatory action. If this has happened to you, the above information can be of great help.
Need more legal advice? Check out our blog for more.
Working on a construction site can be dangerous anywhere, but the Big Apple presents some significant safety challenges as one of the world’s busiest cities. Due to the sheer size and volume of projects that are carried out in NYC, it stands to reason that there would be a fair amount of accidents taking place on a regular basis, even if only a small percentage of workers experience one during their career. Furthermore, the variety of projects being carried out means that there are many different scenarios in which personal injury, property damage, or other negative consequences could arise. More specifically, here are some of the main dangers that are faced on construction sites in NYC:
Equipment and Work-Related Hazards
As you might imagine, virtually every kind of tool and piece of equipment manufactured on earth is being put to use at any given time somewhere in New York City. This means that the city sees an extremely wide range of equipment-related accidents, typically resulting from poorly maintained or misused equipment or hazardous work practices. It is common for workers to sustain injuries due to improper equipment operation or by colliding or stumbling over each other. While there’s often no way to prevent such mishaps other than exercising maximum caution, if you’ve already been injured, it’s important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer that specializes in construction site accidents in NYC.
Falling from Heights
According to reports from the NYC Health Department’s Bureau of Vital statistics, falling from heights accounts for approximately 52% of all construction site deaths in the city. In fact, this terrifying hazard makes construction work the deadliest profession in New York. Fortunately, the number of people who actually fall to their deaths is very low compared to the overall number of construction workers who work in the city, with construction-related fatalities happening only about 20 times per year. Still, this is always a concerning danger that construction workers have to keep in mind because much of the construction and property maintenance that happens in the city occurs high off the ground.
Due to the city’s extensive network of power lines and electrical equipment, construction workers are often faced with electrical hazards while maintaining these systems or working near them. Electric shock also sometimes occurs when workers misuse electrical equipment or power tools. Thus, it’s important for every worker to have a thorough understanding of how to stay grounded and how to work around electrical components such as wires and transformers.
Collisions and Other Concerns
Of course, since there are so many construction vehicles put to use in New York City, there are inevitably vehicle collisions related to construction work as well. The intense traffic means that workers need to be careful to watch for careless motorists and operate tractors and utility vehicles with the utmost caution to prevent property damage. Finally, some other common hazards and concerns relevant to construction work in NYC include environmental hazards, noise pollution, and even violent worker disputes that can result in occasional assaults.
Being injured at your place of work can be a stressful and frightening experience. On one hand, you might be worried about the fact that you won’t be able to work due to your injury. How will you continue to pay your bills and cover medical expenses while you take time off from work to recover? At the same time, you might be concerned that your employer was somehow at fault. Many people even have the irrational fear that they’re going to be fired for getting injured as if it’s somehow proof of their own clumsiness or incompetence. Fortunately, all of the aforementioned concerns can become non-issues if you heed the simple tips given below:
1. Consult with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Anyone who is injured on the job should consider speaking to a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you feel like the injury was entirely your own fault due to a mistake that you made, there’s still a very good chance that some of the liability would legally fall on your employer, which would provide grounds for filing a claim. Every employer that operates a place of business with employees is legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance for this exact reason, so they often will not hesitate to make use of their policy to avoid the hassle of going to court. Still, having a good lawyer in your corner will help you maximize your chances of obtaining maximum compensation.
2. Obtain Medical Treatment and Documentation
If you haven’t already been treated by a medical professional, now would be a good time to handle that. If you have, go ahead and collect your medical records from that the hospital or doctor’s office where you received treatment. This will often be the only tangible input you’ll need to provide your attorney with in order to initiate the process of filing a successful claim. Without such documentation to serve as evidence on your behalf, you’ll have a much lower chance of having your claim approved.
3. Understand Your Own Rights
Now that you have all the proof and assistance that you need to move forward with the process, it’s still important to do your own research to make sure you’re familiar with your exact rights. That way, you can have meaningful and collaborative conversations with your lawyer from an informed perspective. Since the laws vary by state, you’ll need to look into your own state’s statutes and guidelines that govern workers’ compensation insurance and claims.
Don’t Let Your Compensation Go Unclaimed
Anybody who is injured at work and doesn’t at least attempt to file a workers’ compensation claim is probably leaving money on the table for no reason. Obviously, when you’re dealing with a loss of income and increased expenses due to medical bills, you can’t afford to also leave your compensation unclaimed. Thus, it’s imperative to take workers’ compensation seriously and perform the above steps at your earliest possible convenience.
Did you know that within every seven seconds that pass, a US worker gets injured on the job?
That’s right. That’s how common workplace injuries are in the country, and they happen to 4.7 million workers every year.
It’s because of these occupational hazards that workers compensation laws exist. Almost every state in the US requires some form of it, which is why workers comp now covers 129 million workers. Through this coverage, injured workers receive compensation for their losses and medical bills.
Unfortunately, some workers comp claims are trickier and more complex. These are the cases wherein a workers comp lawyer could be very helpful.
Now the question is, what exactly makes these cases more difficult to deal with? What are the signs telling you that you’ll be better off with the help of a legal professional?
Keep reading to learn all about the cues and hints you should be on the lookout for!
1. Your Employer Outright Denies Your Claim
According to the latest reports, employers denied 7% of workers comp claims in 2017.
There are many reasons for a claim denial, such as if a worker fails to provide notice of the injury. The same goes if an injured worker can’t supply medical evidence of the injury. Employers can also deny claims after the Statute of Limitations has passed.
These are only a few reasons, but you get the gist: Your boss can deny your claim so long as there’s a legal reason.
However, some employers and insurers still deny bona fide claims. They do so in the hopes of not making any payout. Some are also confident that the injured worker won’t appeal.
Unfortunately, the latter is true — many workers think they’ll lose their jobs if they do appeal. We’ll dive deeper into this later, but know that an employer can’t fire you right after a claim. So, don’t be afraid of getting fired and file your worker’s comp claim ASAP.
If your employer outright denies your claim, consider hiring a workers compensation attorney. You won’t have to pay anything upfront, yet it gives you the highest odds of receiving a fair settlement.
2. You’re Still Waiting on Your Employer to Pay Your Benefits
After you report your injury and file a claim, your employer’s insurer will have time to review the case. The length of time that an investigation can take varies from state to state.
In California, for example, insurers can accept or reject your claim within 90 days from the day you filed it. In Nevada, insurers only have 30 days to either accept or reject worker’s comp claims. In Massachusetts, insurance companies need to make the decision within 14 days.
If your employer’s insurance company does neither, you may be able to collect a penalty. Some states impose penalties on insurers who are late in making benefit payments. An example is Massachusetts, which imposes a penalty of two hundred dollars.
That said, if you still haven’t received any news about your claim, it may be time to lawyer up. A work injury lawyer can help you get the insurer to pay ASAP. Also, your lawyer will ensure that you get to collect any penalty incurred due to late payments.
3. The Settlement Offer Won’t Cover All Your Losses
Some insurers do everything they can to lower their cost of claims payments. That’s why they usually offer a settlement amount lower than what the injured should get.
From here, it’s up to the worker’s compensation judge to agree to a settlement amount. However, some judges are quick to sign off agreements so long as they’re not “grossly” unfair.
Even it’s not such a low amount, your settlement amount may still not be enough to cover your losses. If you think that it’s not the best deal, you should hire a workers comp attorney. Your lawyer will help you get the best settlement amount possible.
4. The Settlement Offer Will Only Pay Part of Your Medical Bills
A settlement should always cover unpaid bills for any medical treatment you’ve had. You may have two options when it comes to settlements depending on your state.
One, you may settle your right to get benefit payments. You may also have the right to seek additional payments for future treatment.
A second possible option is to accept a lump-sum payment now for future treatments. If you do this though, you’ll give up your right to demand the insurer to pay your bills for future treatments. There are some states though where this waiver isn’t allowed, so be sure to check your state laws too.
What’s important is to make sure that your settlement will cover all your medical bills. The amount should include both the past and future treatment expenses.
If the settlement offer appears to be too low, get a workers compensation lawyer to help you out. Your lawyer can come up with a more accurate estimate of your total treatment costs. From here, you’ll know if you’ll get a fair deal from the insurance company.
5. You’re Suffering from Partial or Total Disability
One study found that permanent disabilities can reduce the income of an injured worker’s by as much as 30%. And that’s only the reduced rate for the year following the injury. Meaning, injured workers can lose even more if their disability worsens.
This is why many states strictly enforce payments for partial or total disabilities. If your injury results in permanent disability, you should get a bigger compensation. This applies to both partial (such as if you lose a finger) and full disabilities.
This is what makes disability payments really expensive for insurance companies. As such, they’ll do what they can to avoid paying out a fair amount. Disability cases are also very complex, and insurers may take advantage of this to get out of paying.
Don’t let an insurance company pay you less than what you deserve. Get help from a work-related injury lawyer if your case involves permanent disability.
6. You’re Planning to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
You can get workers compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits together. However, depending on their combined amount, either one could get reduced. This will apply if all your benefits exceed 80% of your average pre-disability income.
To avoid a huge reduction from your benefits, you need a properly-structured settlement. A worker’s comp lawyer can help by drafting a settlement aimed to cut these deductions.
7. Your Employer “Strikes Back” After You File a Claim
Workplace retaliation is the leading reason for discriminatory charges filed in the US. In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 39,469 retaliation reports. That represents 51.6% of all 76,418 charges of workplace discrimination that year.
The good news is, there are over 20 federal laws that prohibit such actions. Such actions include demotions, lowering an employee’s pay, or changing a worker’s responsibilities. It’s also illegal to fire employees who exercise their employment rights.
One such right is filing a worker’s compensation claim. You have every right to do this, and your boss can’t demote, cut your hours, or change your job roles for doing it.
If your employer commits any of these acts, contact a workers comp lawyer ASAP to protect your rights.
8. You’ve Become a Subject of Workplace Harassment After Filing Your Claim
Discrimination after filing a worker’s comp claim isn’t always outright or obvious. These acts can be subtle, such as always questioning your work or judgment. Your boss may also be harassing you by increasing your workload without extra pay.
You may have also noticed how you’re now excluded from social or professional events. Or, you’ve become a subject of pranks, offensive jokes, threats, or intimidation. Your boss may also have become harsher in giving a qualitative analysis of your work.
These acts could occur right after you exercised your right to file a worker’s comp claim. In case you do experience any of this, your employer may already be “retaliating” against you. This could affect your performance and even health and well-being.
Seek the advice of a worker’s compensation lawyer regarding this matter. Depending on the severity of harassment, it may already be federally illegal.
9. The Injury You’ve Sustained is Due to Someone Else’s Actions
The workers compensation system prevents civil lawsuits against employers for work-related injuries. However, there are situations wherein you can bring a lawsuit outside of the system.
For instance, a negligent driver may have hit you while you were outside carrying out a job. Or, someone attacked you while you were doing a work-related task outside the office.
In both cases, you may still sue these people who contributed to your injuries. Such cases are complex though, so it’s best to hire an experienced worker’s comp attorney. A lawyer will be able to determine if you have a case and if you can win the case.
10. Your Injuries Resulted from Work-Related Physical Assaults
If you’ve sustained injuries following workplace violence, you may be able to file a claim. In many states, employees can file a worker’s comp claim for physical assaults. However, the reason for the violence should be work-related and not personal.
For example, a customer attacks you because you weren’t able to provide what they wanted. You broke your arm or cracked a few ribs because of the assault. Since the injury had something to do with your work, then you may file a claim.
However, proving these things can be very difficult. Employers or insurers may also claim that the attack was personal.
It’s in these situations that an experienced worker’s comp lawyer can help you. They will help you gather the evidence to prove that the assault is work-related.
Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer to Get the Best Possible Results from Your Claim
As you can see, there are many situations that call for professional legal help. If you find yourself in any of these circumstances, it’s best to hire a workers comp lawyer. This way, you can prevent your employer (and their insurer) from giving you the runaround.
With the help of an experienced workers comp attorney, you can get the best and fairest deal from your claim. You can focus on getting better without worrying about low-ball settlements.
Need more guidance when it comes to your rights as an employee? Then be sure to check out the other posts we have under our site’s Employment Lawyer section!