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Category Archives: Workers Comp

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Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

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!

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2 weeks ago Workers Comp

What Are My Worker’s Comp Rights: Can I Be Fired After Being Injured?

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.

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The Dangers of Construction Site Accidents in New York City

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. 

Electric Shock

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.

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What Should I Do If I’m Injured at Work?

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.

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2 months ago Workers Comp

Get What You’re Due! 10 Serious Signs You Need a Workers Comp Attorney

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

Every year, about 2 million workers become victims of workplace violence. In 2018 alone, physical assaults caused 18,400 injuries and even claimed the lives of over 450 people.

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!

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2 months ago Workers Comp

Do Self-employed need workers compensation Insurance?

Compensation insurance is not required but a very good idea for a self-employed worker.  Any worker who runs his own business can face injuries that might result to medical expenses and income loss. The worker’s compensation act can cover these expenses and save you a lot of hazards and time.  Self-employed workers can expect to pay anywhere form $200-$400 yearly. This is a small price to pay for the benefit it presents.

There are two reasons why a self-employed worker is mandated to purchase a compensation policy:

1. The contract requires a worker’s compensation coverage

Some businesses require that an independent contractor has a worker’s compensation coverage before they can win contracts. It becomes mandatory to have a worker’s compensation coverage before you place bids on this type of contracts.

2. Income protection

Most health insurance policies in states exclude work-related injuries and illness. If you purchase a worker’s insurance compensation, it will ensure that your medical bills will be taken care of if you are injured while working. In some instances, it also covers lost wages while you are unable to work

How does worker’s compensation for self-employed individuals work?

This class of policy covers business owners, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors who get injured while on duty.  The injured or sick individual or company gets compensation benefits in to make up for lost wages, medical bills and injury as long as the premiums are paid regularly.

To protect a sole proprietor’s financial interest the worker’s compensation program is highly recommended but it is an option if you don’t see the need for it

There is a lot of misconception about the traditional health insurance policy. Many think it’s enough insurance show they suffer serious injuries that keeps them away from work. Most times, the independently acquired health insurance policies can reach insurmountable fees of $12,000 which small business and many self-employed workers can’t afford.  Add that to the fact that most of the health insurance policies have long waiting periods before the benefits kicks in and you will understand the value of the worker’s compensation insurance.

Establishing the worker’s compensation act

Each State has its own laws and compensation market so the way they carry out their compensation polices will defer. Some make use of a state fund while others employ the use of private carriers. Larger states might opt to use a combination of both to address the compensation needs of workers. Employ the services of a worker’s compensation insurance provider with the help of attorneys like those from New Jersey Attorney to help determine your options.

Who is this policy right for?

As a self-employed worker or sole proprietor, you might not be able to prevent hazards or illness on the job but you can protect yourself from going bankrupt. Financial disaster can result from lost wages, illness or the inability to find future work.  This policy is idea if you:

  •         Concerned about losing wages because of illness
  •         In need of a worker’s compensation insurance to secure a contract
  •         May need to hire an employee in the future

As a sole proprietor you are at risk of losing a significant amount of your wages if you stay always from work for extended period of time. So don’t see it as an expensive luxury requirement.

7 Myths about worker’s compensation

  1. My business isn’t big enough: The fact that you can count the number of worker’s you employ doesn’t mean you don’t need a worker’s compensation. Most state laws make it mandatory for business with one or more employees to take advantage of the policy. Self-employed workers can benefit immensely too.
  2. I’m in a low risk business: This is another wrong notion that prevents you from taking advantage of the policy. No business is free from illness which has the potential of knocking you down for weeks.  Fortunately, policy makers take into consideration the risk level of your business before grafting your premium. You are more likely going to pay low premium if you run your business in an office.
  3. My team of professionals doesn’t need it: No matter how prepared or professional you or your team members are, they can’t predict the future. Errors and accidents do occur and your business is liable for this.
  4. I will never get sued: This is another fallacy. If you think your team is like a family and you will never get sued. Think again! You can get slapped with a lawsuit if a team member gets a fatal injury on the job. If you are a one man company you can get away with this.
  5. My Tax takes care of my worker’s compensation: This notion in its entirety is wrong.  States don’t automatically provide businesses with worker’s compensation insurance policies because they are seen as been separate from corporate taxes. You will do well to recognize the difference.
  6. The payroll service I employ takes care of workers compensation: This is not always the case unless you have a copy of the contact with your payroll service and seen the premiums included as a line item, it’s wrong to go with this assumption.
  7. My workers are independent contractors: Because you pay workers on a 1099 doesn’t make them independent contractors. There are multiple criteria that need to be fulfilled before one can be regarded as a true independent contractor.  Paying workers on a 1099 doesn’t exempt you from the obligation to carry out worker’s compensation.
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What to Do When You’ve Had an Accident at Work

Your place of work is typically one of the places you spend most of your time on a weekly basis. You don’t have to love your job, but at the very least you should find the environment to be safe, comfortable and friendly. In some rare situations an accident may occur at the workplace. This could involve injuries such as muscles strains, cuts and lacerations, slips and falls, and much more. Hazards are more prominent in certain industries but even an office environment poses certain threats. It’s the responsibility of the employer to take appropriate steps to ensure every member of staff is aware of the business’ health and safety procedures and does the minimum required of them to prevent injury to themselves or their colleagues.

The Fatal Accident Claims firm in the UK is an experienced team of solicitors who specialise in fatal accident claims and accidents at work. They have provided some of the steps to take when you’ve been involved in a workplace accident.

Seek Appropriate Medical Attention

It should go without saying that your immediate priority should be to seek medical attention. Don’t think about anything else, such as compensation and responsibility, until you have received treatment on your injuries. Your business should have a designated first aider who you should visit as soon as possible. If this isn’t possible, ask a colleague to bring the first aider to you. They should have access to a first aid kit to help ease the affect of your injuries. It’s not uncommon for people to brush off the need for medical attention. Even if the injuries seem minor, head to your doctor or the nearest hospital for professional treatment and assessment. If you do need to visit a hospital, go with another person such as a colleague to ensure your safety and wellbeing.

Report the Accident

At your earliest convenience you should report the accident to your colleagues and manager for several reasons. First of all, if the accident was a result of an environmental hazard, it’s important to alert others so they don’t suffer from a similar accident to yourself. In the event of a compensation claim it’s also important that you have followed appropriate procedures to officially report the accident, especially if your employer intends to dispute the fact that it occurred. In some cases you may even be in breach of your contact should you fail to report the accident within a sensible timeframe and without following your business’ reporting protocols. If the injuries are serious, then your employer may be required to report the accident to the Health and Safety Executive.

Gather Evidence

When, and only when, you have received suitable treatment and are not in immediate danger, you should start the process of gathering evidence. Even if you have doubts about whether a claim is possible and are unsure of who was responsible, it’s essential to gather what you can to help with any potential claim for compensation. Your employer is not your friend in this situation and when a legal challenge takes place for claiming compensation, they may try to dispute parts of your perspective of the accident or the accident in its entirety. The best type of evidence you can gather is photos and video footage of the accident scene and your injuries. Aim for good quality footage and capture multiple angles so you can better portray how the accident occurred. You may also wish to talk to a colleague who witnessed the accident and collect their contact details in case they can be used as a witness on your side.

Document the Proceeding Weeks

The accident can have a significant impact on your life in the following weeks and months. It’s important to document how it has affected you and the symptoms you’ve sustained. Keep a daily diary which can be used to portray a strong case for your right to compensation. Some of the symptoms and injury severity may fade over time while other ones may only show later on. The affects of an accident aren’t always clear at the time it happened. What is on your initial medical report might not fully represent your injuries. If the symptoms persist or new ones appear, consider visiting your GP regularly. Your right to compensation and the amount you are entitled to depends on how the accident affected your day-to-day life and the seriousness of your injuries, including your mental stability. As part of this documenting process, keep a record of the expenses and losses you’ve incurred as a result of the accident. This can include how spending time away from work has affected you, disruptions to planned holidays, and requiring regular care from family and friends.

Seek a Specialist Solicitors Firm

When the time is right, start looking at a specialist solicitors firm that is right for chasing the compensation you’re eligible for. You should look to appoint a firm that is qualified, specialises in fatal work accidents, and will have your best interests at the forefront of what they do. Before committing to recruiting them, seek a free no-obligation conversation to determine if they are right for you. It’s also recommended that the solicitors you appoint work on a No Win, No Fee basis, meaning you will only pay their fees should the case win in court.

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5 Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury has Occurred

Injuries in the workplace can be a disaster—physically for employees and financially for employers.  The harrowing reality is that they can happen to the best of us an any given workplace. However, for those working in positions or environments that require physical labor, heavy lifting, or dangerous circumstances, knowing exactly what to do in the event of a workplace accident should be top priority. 

5 Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury has OccurredHaving a standard step-by-step protocol in line will make the process less of a headache for both parties and could save you money in the long haul. Using this guide, we’ll walk you through the five steps you should take immediately after a workplace injury has occurred. Whether your company is geared up with workers’ comp claims management software or not, a solidified plan will make a world of difference. 

Step 1: Develop a plan

The last thing you want to deal with when faced with a workplace injury is indecision. Wondering what to do can add stress and waste valuable time when immediate action is needed. Acting with swiftness and efficiency will minimize the amount of harm that burdens the injured worker. For that reason, your post-injury plan must do the following: 

  • Collect information 
  • Complete paperwork 

As you work through these four plan essentials, you’ll want to reassure the injured employee that you are taking care of the situation and that their family members will be in contact if the injury proves life-threatening or severe. Employees want to know that their employers care, and the first step is to treat them with exactly that. Unless the employee has clearly expressed a willingness and ability to drive themselves to the hospital or finish out the day, do not hold them accountable for further action on the day of the injury.

Step 2: Assess the Injury 

Regardless of the situation or circumstances, be sure to assess and treat all injuries with total seriousness. Keep in mind that even small injuries may lead to larger injuries down the road, so be vigilant about each and every workplace incident. It’s also important to understand that in most cases, no one on the clock will be certified to make a professional assessment, so it’s always a smart idea to call in or seek a qualified medical professional.

If the employee seems to be in severe pain or life-threatening condition, call 9-1-1 immediately. If the injured employee does not appear to be in any sort of dire situation, you may consider driving the employee to a local medical facility.

Step 3: Secure the Area

5 Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury has OccurredOnce you’ve taken the proper steps toward assessing the situation, the next important step is securing the space where the injury happened. Even if it happened in a high-traffic spot, it’s incredibly important for you to block it off. There are two reasons why: 

  • The area could still be a dangerous environmental hazard for other workers still on the clock.
  • As you fill out a workplace incident report, you’ll need to be able to perfectly describe the scene of the incident in as precise of detail as you can provide. By securing the area, it will remain untampered. 

Step 4: Collect Information 

There’s a chance that the only individual present at the scene of the accident was the injured employee, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to do everything in their power to collect as much information about the incident as possible. This helps to build an accurate account that benefits both the employee and you, the employer.

There are a number of methods you can employ to begin collecting information including:

  • Interviewing other employees 
  • Reviewing security camera footage 
  • Interviewing the injured employee after they’ve made a reasonable recovery

Step 5: Carefully Complete Paperwork 

The reality of workplace incidents is that they usually take a sizable amount of time before they’re completely dealt with and smoothed over. Unfortunately, in most cases, the employee and employer end up pitted against each other. To best protect yourself and your company’s finances, keep and complete paperwork to the best of your ability. It’s imperative that action is taken quickly so the situation is best assessed by fresh memories rather than months-old recollections.

With these five steps, you can rest assured knowing you have a foolproof plan to deal with workplace injuries to keep you and your employees out of a nasty financial hole.

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4 months ago Workers Comp

The Lighter Side of Employment Law

Governing the employer/employee relationship, employment law involves a hugely diverse range of subjects with the common goals of protecting employee’s rights and laying down guidelines for employer’s responsibilities.

With its roots in the Roman Empire, employment law came into its own with the Industrial Revolution, and began to coalesce the various loosely defined laws that previously existed, into more concrete regulations. 

The Master and Servant Act of 1823 recognised that there had to be rules by which workers and employers were governed, and was described as being for “the better regulations of servants, labourers and work people”. This was followed in 1833 by the Factory Act, which prohibited the employment of children under 9 years old. Gradually regulations were restructured and redefined until the present umbrella of employment law was developed, and with nearly 20 years in the business, Sketchtley Solicitors offer expert advice for both employers and employees.

Whilst many outside the industry see employment law as potentially a dry and dusty subject, from within, we see the real life effects of cases and how they can affect individuals, companies and any future legal amendments. Over the years, we have all collected cases to recount over a glass of single malt – those cases that looked hopeless initially, or so daft we were embarrassed to be involved, for example, and here’s a couple of the more unusual ones.

Unusual Employment Law Cases 

Spring 2016 saw a Mr Frederic Desnard raise a tribunal claim against his employer. Desnard, a perfume company manager, was seeking £280,000 in compensation due to being given menial and incredibly tedious tasks after a lucrative contract was lost. He described his “descent into hell” as feeling like burnout, but far less interesting, and  claimed that his profound level of boredom lead to him taking sick leave, followed by his subsequent redundancy.

The decision was made by the Paris Labor Court, unable to reach a conclusive decision, to refer the case to a professional judge. We’ll leave you to find the final ruling – but the case opens up several questions.

  • When does being “bored out of your mind” go from being an adjective to a medical diagnosis?
  • Would this constitute a potential breach of implied trust and confidence, if, as Desnard claims, his employer gave him boring tasks in order to encourage him to give notice?
  • France’s higher court has recognised over 200 cases of employees being ‘intentionally sidelined’, in similar circumstances to Desnard, and states it is a form of moral harassment.
  • By having never complained to his employer about being bored, as well as accepting his inflated salary, it could cast doubt on the legitimacy of Desnard’s claim

Another unusual case, again from France, involved contestants on a ‘Big Brother’ style TV programme called Temptation Island. They claimed that as they were filmed continuously for two weeks, they were entitled to overtime, holiday pay and it constituted unfair dismissal when the programme finished. Finding in their favour, the Tribunal said that the contestants were employed, and that it took concentration and hard work to tempt people of the opposite sex. The programme was cancelled soon after.

Finally, from the employment law archives, a claim was raised by a Jewish employee against his employer, a firm in London. As a forfeit for arriving late, any tardy employees would be given a costume to wear for the day – one had to wear a Bo Peep costume, for example. The Jewish man, being late to his desk, was given a Nazi uniform. While the employer agreed that it was inappropriate, he defended it by arguing that all employees were treated the same, and it was a running office joke. Considering that a Northern Irish Protestant employee had previously been provided with a Pope costume, it’s a wonder that no one had raised a claim sooner. The defense of ‘office banter’ will never be successful, and not surprisingly, the Tribunal found in favour of the employee.

Employment law is always going to be a fascinating area, covering, as it does, so many components of human life, and looking back through the files can not only help us with future cases, but can provide an interesting talking point, too.

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4 months ago Workers Comp

5 Benefits of Hiring a Workers Comp Attorney in 2019

Every day, roughly 12,600 employees are injured at work.

If you’ve been in an accident that you know wasn’t your fault – and was even directly caused by your company’s negligence – you deserve to be compensated.

You shouldn’t have to pay for medical bills, deal with lost wages because you can’t work, and have to shoulder the emotional toll the accident had on you on your own.

You don’t deserve financial ruin on top of everything else.

It’s time to hire a workers comp attorney.

But what is having a workers comp lawyer on your side the right move?

Read on to find out.

1. The Potential to Increase Your Settlement Amount

Today’s employers pay out about $1 billion every week in workers compensation costs.

But what if your company can afford to hire the best representation? What if your own insurance company is denying you coverage? What if the company is incorrectly claiming the accident was your fault?

It can be tough to get the compensation you deserve.

A workers comp attorney fights for you to get the highest possible amount of compensation, whether your case goes to trial or if you choose to settle out of court.

2. They’ll Handle the Paperwork

You don’t have the time – or even the physical strength – to collect medical records, gather witness statements, and file the proper court documents for your case.

What’s more?

You certainly don’t have the expertise or the understanding of the way the legal system works in the way that a workers compensation attorney at Mann Law Firm or another legal professional does.

Incorrectly filing paperwork, a failure to present insurance and medical records, and missing filing deadlines can destroy your case.

A worker compensation lawyer can break down the legalese and bureaucratic red tape on your behalf. This way, you can focus on healing.

3. They’ll Help You Pursue Long-Term Benefits

Many people just aren’t aware of how many different kinds of awards you might be eligible for within a workplace/personal injury lawsuit.

For example, you could win wage loss replacement, medical treatment coverage, coverage for travel expenses to receive medical treatment, and even file a third party liability civil lawsuit.

If your injuries are particularly severe and mean you may not be able to work again in the future, you can pursue permanent disability benefits.

These benefits mean that you’ll still be able to provide for yourself and your family even if you are no longer employable in your field.

Now Is the Time to Hire a Workers Comp Attorney

If you’ve been injured at work, you shouldn’t attempt to handle your case on your own.

Hire a workers comp lawyer as soon as possible.

Remember that most workers comp lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you’ll only have to pay once the case is closed and you’ve won the settlement you deserve.

Want to know what to look for in the right workers comp attorney?

Curious about what you can do to better protect yourself – or your employees – in the workplace?

Bookmark our blog for continual access to legal advice, tips on workplace safety, and much more.

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