On-the-job injuries and illnesses are unfortunately common in the United States; in 2013, there were 3,007,300 reported workplace injuries. The good news is that in most cases, workers do not need to file personal injury lawsuits to get the treatment they need. Instead, workers compensation settlements cover medical costs and lost wages. The workers compensation system can be confusing, and it’s always wise to talk to workers compensation lawyers in your state, since laws vary. To get you started in your research, however, here are answers to five of the most common questions people ask workers compensation lawyers:
- What Is Workers Compensation?
Workers compensation works slightly differently in each state, but what you should know is that it is essentially an insurance policy carried by your employer to protect you and your fellow employees in case you are injured on the job. Workers compensation is considered part of the cost of doing business, and your employer may not pass that cost along to you or ask you to pay part of the premium.
- Who Is Eligible Under Workers Comp?
Each state lays out its own requirements for which employers must carry workers compensation and which employees are covered by it, but the vast majority of employers are required to provide workers compensation coverage to all employees, even temporary ones. Independent contractors and some other groups may be excluded.
- What Else Is Covered by Workers Comp?
Workers compensation may cover more than just medical bills and lost wages. Should your injury render you incapable of continuing your job, you may also be eligible for temporary or permanent disability payments (though workers compensation should not be mistaken for disability insurance), or vocational rehabilitation.
- What Circumstances Trigger a Claim?
The exact requirements vary from state to state, but in general workers compensation claims can be filed as long as the employee was hurt or became ill due to conditions at work. Workers compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that it still covers cases in which worker error occurred. You should also remember that repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are covered — workers compensation isn’t just for industrial accidents and the like.
- Why Should I Hire an Attorney?
It is not required that you hire an attorney in order to receive workers comp. However, workers compensation lawyers can guide you through the process and make sure you receive the maximum amount as quickly as possible. That means it’s often a worthy investment, especially if any element of your case is unclear or requires quite a bit of evidence.
What other questions do you have about workers compensation? Ask and discuss in the comments.