You might, at some point, be injured at work. When that happens, you need to make sure that your rights are preserved. Understanding how workers’ compensation works is the first step toward making sure that you receive the money that you deserve.
How Workers’ Compensation Works
There is a whole system associated with protecting the rights of workers who might be injured on the job. Companies are required to pay into a fund administered by the state. Each state has its own program and/or fund, often in the form of insurance. Your company pays into the state fund, and if you are injured on the job, you are supposed to receive the following:
- Medical care: The bills related to your injury should be covered by workers’ compensation.
- Lost wages: If you end up missing work because of your injury, you have the right to receive compensation for the pay you haven’t been receiving.
- Rehabilitation: There are situations in which you might need help returning to work. Rehabilitation, designed to help you regain skills that you might have lost, or help you return to work.
If you are killed on the job, your survivors should receive benefits. While there is no replacing you, it’s only fair that your family should be compensated if your work results in your death.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation
The workers’ compensation system seems fairly straightforward: You are injured while working, so your employer (with help from the state fund) should cover the costs associated with the job. With some jobs that carry a certain amount of risk, it makes a great deal of sense to provide benefits to injured employees. However, even if a job carries a lower risk of injury, an employee should be able to feel confident he or she won’t be financially devastated because of an accident at work.
As straightforward and fair as this seems, though, the sad reality is that it can be difficult to receive the payout you deserve. In some cases, employers — or even the workers’ compensation fund at the state level — balk at paying what you deserve. Your injury might be trivialized, or efforts to “prove” that it didn’t happen at work might be made.
Also, since claims can be denied if you have engaged in misconduct, or if the accident happened as a result of alcohol or drug use on your part, the company might try to insist that you were doing something that negates your claims.
In order protect your workers’ compensation rights, you can hire a lawyer. Employees who hire lawyers to help them get what they deserve are more likely to receive the compensation necessary to keep them out of a financial hole. Your lawyer understands the ins and outs of the system, and can help you navigate the paperwork. This is very important, since workers’ compensation claims come with a multitude of forms, deadlines, and requirements. Your attorney can keep you on track, handling your claims and presenting evidence so that you can concentrate on recovering.
On top of that, anytime you hire a lawyer to help protect your rights and your claims, the other party takes you more seriously. The party that should be paying on your workers’ compensation claim knows that you mean business when you have a lawyer to represent you. A lawyer knows how much you should expect for your claim, and he or she knows how to get it.
When you are injured due to work you do for your employer, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and the need to retrain so that you can become a productive member of society again. That’s what workers’ compensation is meant for, and you need to make sure that you protect your rights. If you would like to speak with an attorney, call us. We’re here to help.