Workers' Compensation Lawyers
Will I Lose My Job if I Seek Workers’ Compensation?
A lot of people worry if seeking workers’ compensation will cost them their job. They worry that their employer may see an injured employee claiming workers’ compensation as a liability and either try to terminate their employment, demote them or show hostility at the workplace.
Good news is, an employer is required by the state to help the injured employee and ensure that they return to work smoothly and when appropriate. It would actually not be a good idea for your employer to fire you for hiring an attorney. The reason is simple. It is unacceptable and illegal under both the state and federal law to treat an employee unfairly in the workplace following an injury. If you have a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to help you, he/she will be able to get in touch with your employer and insurance company to protect your rights and, if needed, bring a civil lawsuit.
When you hire a workers’ compensation attorney after your injury, your employer understands that if you were willing to hire an attorney for this claim, you are more likely to hire one to help out if they violate another law by firing you. Moreover, your employers are aware that firing you may cost them more in the workers’ compensation case. To avoid an additional claim as well as bring down the money they have to pay in workers’ compensation, most employers tend to do just the opposite and actually help out in making it more comfortable for you to get back to work. Thus, hiring an attorney could actually make it less likely for you to lose your job.
What Types of Benefits/Compensation Can I Expect from a Settlement with my Employer?
Each compensation case is different and so the benefits you get will depend upon a multitude of factors like your age, extent of the injury, cost for medical care, work and health history and how capable you are of performing other work. Typically, an injured employee is entitled to four different kinds of benefits:
- Weekly compensation – This is provided if the injury results in temporary, permanent, total or partial disability, and the amount of compensation varies according to the type of disability.
- Permanent impairment benefits – This is provided if you are diagnosed with a permanent physical impairment of any body part, as per the American Medical Association guidelines.
- Payment of medical bills – You are entitled to be compensated for all your reasonable and necessary medical bills resulting from the injury.
- Vocational rehabilitation – This is provided if you are not capable of returning to your previous line of work owing to the injury.
5 Most Important Things an Injured Employee Should be Aware of
- Report the injury to the HR department as soon as it happens. The longer you take to report matter, the weaker your case will get. You will be asked to fill out a few forms about the incident. Try to get it completed in time and follow up if needed.
- Try to keep note of important dates, like when the injury happened, the date you informed the employer about the injury, the date you submitted the accident report, days you took off from work owing to the injury and records of doctor’s appointments, surgeries (if any), therapy sessions and reports. It is also advisable to keep note of a description of the incident as well as limitations or challenges you had to face while it is still fresh in your mind. Any phone conversations with your employer, doctor’s office or the insurance firm should be noted down, including the date and time of call and the subject matter.
- When you reach the hospital or medical provider, be sure that they know this was an on-the-job injury. Most hospitals and clinics have an area in their medical forms to specify if the case is that of work injury. It is also a good idea to inquire beforehand if there is any specific medical provider that your employing company approves.
- Be careful about what you say to the insurance firm. They tend to document or even record every conversation. Therefore, anything you do or say could be used against you in the case. You must never agree to a recorded conversation unless and until you have consulted a legal advisor. Try your best to stay away from social media, especially if you are missing work. Anything you put online could easily be used against you too.
- Most importantly, be 100% honest and transparent. If you do not remember a detail, there is no need of fabricating it. Exaggerating the injury or fabricating details will do you more harm than good. Insurance companies normally hire investigators to look through every aspect. If any detail is proven false, it can lead to questions about the legitimacy of the entire claim.
How can I improve or decrease my chances of winning compensation?
If you can present enough information and documentation to prove that you need additional medical treatment, the value of settlement can be increased. However, it is important for the additional treatment to be relevant to the work injury and reasonable. As mentioned above, you should be meticulous about keeping record of everything. Insurance companies document every conversation, and you should do the same. Simply relying on memory will not help. The precision with which you can recall details and the amount and quality of documentation that you can present could be the difference between winning and losing your compensation.
Sometimes your employer may offer a small settlement offer, cashing on the fact that you need the money. However, you should never accept any settlement without first talking to a worker’s compensation attorney. With an experienced attorney by your side, you can be sure of getting a better deal from the settlement.
Although you can very well handle your claim all by yourself, taking the help of a skilled and experienced worker’s compensation attorney can further strengthen your chances of winning, since these kinds of cases are what they deal with day in and day out, so that have a better idea of the necessary forms and paperwork to be completed, how best to gather the supporting evidence and how best to negotiate with the insurance company, thereby avoiding un-anticipated losses. When in doubt, you can always get in touch with a workers’ compensation attorney for a consultation.
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