Workers’ compensation programs exist in order to provide employees who are injured during work related activities, or who suffer from an illness that is related to their work with medical care and financial support. In many cases, if you are injured at work you cannot sue your employer in a torts personal injury lawsuit. This is because workers’ compensation is meant to pay for these types of injuries, in exchange for the employee’s right to sue in a court of law. For employees, the benefit of this arrangement is that the work related injury does not have to be caused by your employer’s negligence or other wrongful act. Instead, even if the injury was caused by the employee’s own carelessness, the medical care and wage replacement for time off would be covered by workers’ compensation.
Of course, insurers and employers are not always happy to be covering the cost of employee medical problems, and claims for workers’ compensation will involve a process to show that the injury exists and was work related. Employees might find their cases challenged if the insurer thinks an injury might have been preexisting or that an illness is not work related.
Employees who are attempting to be compensated through workers’ compensation should start the process as soon as possible. In the case of an on the job injury, it is pretty clear when the injury was sustained, and that it occurred at work. Employees in this scenario should waste no time in notifying their employer of their intention to seek workers’ compensation and if it is required in the employee’s state, file a formal claim with the state. Employees who hesitate could miss the deadline to file, and even if they do not, they are more likely to have their claims scrutinized because big gaps between the supposed injury and the filing of the claim can alert insurers to possible weaknesses in the claimant’s case. In the event of an injury that has a clear time of occurrence, you should remember that the clock will start running right away on your ability to file for workers’ compensation. Since insurers are unlikely to roll over and pay without any questions, the employee should keep track of all related medical records, and have an account of the event that caused the injury, including the date, time, and location. It would be wise to have a list of witnesses if anyone saw the injury occur.
In the case of work related cumulative trauma injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or illnesses such as black lung disease, the question of when the injury occurred and when the employee knew it was work related becomes a bit more complicated. Something like carpal tunnel syndrome may be developing and growing worse for some time prior to the suffering individual being diagnosed. The same situation exists with most work related diseases. In these cases, the employee should expect the time restrictions on their ability to file a claim to start when they see a doctor about the problem, miss work as a result of it and when the individual knew, or at least should have known that the cause of the medical issue was related to his or her job.
Workers’ compensation benefits can also apply in cases where an employee suffers as the result of a mental illness that is work related as well.
In all cases, if you are suffering from a medical problem that is related to something that happened at work or while you were engaged in a work related activity, or that is the result of something your work requires you to do or be exposed to, you should seek medical attention, and then promptly file your claim. Work related injuries and illnesses can create costly medical bills, and prevent employees from being able to work. If you miss your opportunity to collect workers’ compensation you will be forfeiting valuable assistance that can help you get the care you need, and take the time you require to heal. If you have questions about your workers’ compensation rights, filing a claim, or appealing a denial of benefits, you should speak with an experienced attorney to pursue the benefits that you are entitled to collect.
Contact Stern Law, PLLC for A Free Consultation
At Stern Law, PLLC, we have compassionate and caring attorneys ready to work with you in orderto find the best way strategy for seeking compensation for your job related injuries. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.