Anyone who’s been injured in the workplace knows that it can be a traumatic experience. Your injury may put you in a weakened physical and mental state, and managing your worker's compensation claim may seem like a losing battle. To get some help and to be certain your rights are upheld, it may be in your best interests to consult with an attorney who specializes in worker's compensation.
How a Workers' Compensation Attorney Can Help
The term “workers' compensation” is used to describe an entire system of laws and procedures outlining an injured employee's benefits. An experienced attorney can help the injured party navigate and understand the complexities of the system. For example, federal laws cover benefits for federal employees and certain industries, like rail transportation, but state laws cover injuries that occur at workplaces within the state. In addition, state statutes vary greatly from one state to the next.
Additionally, an attorney can help you understand the unique nature of a workers' compensation claim. When you file for worker's compensation, you are filing a claim with the insurance company that provides coverage to your employer. Unlike a typical insurance claim, such as one for an automobile accident, a worker's compensation claim cannot be disputed and must be paid (with some exceptions). State regulations require that injuries are paid fixed monetary awards depending on the nature and severity of the injury. Workers don’t need to bring a legal claim against their employer, and if the injured worker is partially negligent in causing the injury, he or she will still be paid. This is called a no-fault system.
After you file your claim, you are entitled to some, or all, of the following categories of benefits:
Your attorney can help you obtain the full amount of benefits you’re entitled to. Keep in mind that you cannot sue your employer to cover benefits that have already been received under workers' compensation. However, you may wish to sue your employer or a third party for other injuries in a separate civil action. If an employer's intentional act was the cause of your injury, or you have suffered emotional distress or discrimination as a result of actions of your employer, you may wish to pursue a damages award.
A case against your employer will be heard in a separate proceeding in a civil court, whereas any dispute regarding your workers' compensation claim is heard in an administrative court or in front of the workers' compensation appeal board. Further, if you were injured by defective equipment, you can sue the manufacturer (a third party). A workers' compensation attorney will explain how to pursue your claims and whether or not another party is entitled to a portion of the damages you recover.
Whether your injury was caused by inadequate instruction or supervision, improper maintenance of equipment, or dangerous conditions at the workplace, you have the right to file a workers' compensation claim, a claim against your employer, or a claim against a third party. An experienced attorney can explain what you can expect at every step of the claims process, and will take action on your behalf, including researching the law, interviewing witnesses, collecting records, conferring with expert consultants, planning legal strategy, and negotiating with insurers and opposing counsel.
Get Help From an Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney
Workplace injuries can result in time off work, medical bills, and other complications -- but your employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance for such events. It can all be quite confusing, particularly if your injuries are severe. If you have suffered an injury on the job and are in need of skilled legal assistance with a potential workers' compensation claim, you can have an initial review of your claim absolutely free and with no obligations.
Contact a qualified workers' compensation attorney to make sure your rights are protected.