Workers’ compensation is a benefit program that covers medical costs and disability income for most work-related injuries of employees. The specific coverages and regulations for these benefits vary from state-to-state. This program is designed to help employees receive the compensation they need to get treated and return to work. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what this program entails below.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
- These typically include diseases employees contracted due to exposure to toxins at their place of employement.
- Aggrevation of PreExisting Medical Conditions
- Injuries Acquired During A Work-Sponsored Activity
- Injuries That Occur At The Workplace During Breaks And Lunch Hours
- Physical Injuries That Occur While On The Job
- Mental And Physical Injuries Incurred Due To Increased Work Duties And Work-Related Stress
What Injuries Are Not Covered Under Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
There are cases in which injuries are not covered under the workers’ compensation benefits. These situations are designed by the State Government. In most states, these include the following situations:
- Injures Incurred While An Employe Was Under The Influence Of Illegal Drugs or Alcohol
- The Employee Violated The Company’s Policy
- The Injury Didn’t Occur While On The Job
- Self-Infliced Injuries
- Any Injury Obtained While An Employee Was Committing A Serious Crime
You should check with your State Legislature to see what sort of restrictions are made on workers’ compensation benefits for your state.
Are Benefits Available For Surviving Family Members If A Fatality Occurs?
In the event a person is killed due to an incident at work, the survivors are eligible for benefits. FECA sets the compensation rates for federal employees. States set the compensation rates for employers within their borders. Therefore, the benefits for survivors of an employee killed on the job will vary from state-to-state.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation If I’m Injured In A Company Vehicle?
Those who are given a company vehicle to perform their job are covered for workers’ compensation benefits in the event they are injured in a car accident. This could be traveling while on the clock or communicating to and from work in a company vehicle. Due to the nature of these situations, it’s best to contact a workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Can I Sue The Machine Manufacturer Of The Equipment That Caused My Injury?
Before we answer this question, let us first explain who you are able to take legal action against in the case of a workplace injury. Workers’ compensation is meant to alleviate the financial burden of an employee in the event an injury occurs. For this reason, if you receive workers’ compensation from your employer, you relinquish your right to take legal action against them.
However, in the case your injury is incurred due to the negligence of a third party, you may take legal action against the third party. This could include an equipment manufacturer or a co-worker. You can sue anyone but your employer in the case you were injured.
In most states, you are required to inform your employer of your intent to sue a third party for neglect if you are injured at work. Employers have the right to sue those at fault to recover the cost of the workers’ compensation benefits that they are paying to you for your injury. It’s very likely that your employer may join your lawsuit against the neglectful third party.
Will I Have To Go To Trial?
Workers’ compensation is handled differently than many other legal matters. This is considered solely administrative and is handled by an administrative law judge in the event the case is not settled before trial. Most attorneys will work out a settlement amount with the workers’ compensation provider.
In cases where a settlement cannot be reached between your attorney and the provider, the case will be handled by an administrative judge. They will determine the compensation amount that is ideal for the nature of the case. Most administrative judges are required in claims where a permanent disability is present. Other short-term injuries are typically settled between an attorney and the workers’ compensation provider before the claim goes to a hearing before the judge.
Do I Need To Hire A Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
You are not legally required to have an attorney handle your workers’ compensation case. However, it’s highly advised that you do seek out the professional assistance of a trained workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation available. A skilled attorney will be able to fill out the proper forms and prevent any denials of your claim due to wrong procedures.
Can I Be Fired From Work For Filing A Claim?
In most states, employers are restricted from disciplining employees that file for workers’ compensation. Any discharge or discipline actions taken against an employee for a reason related to their workers’ compensation filing is illegal. An employee may take legal action against any employer that disciplines or discharges them due to their filing of a workers’ compensation claim.