If you are injured on the job, you may choose to hire a lawyer to make sure you are awarded proper benefits. A workers' compensation lawyer can help you file a claim, answer your questions, and represent you at hearings. There are often disputes in workers' compensation cases about what injuries were work-related, the level of disability, the amount of benefits, and whether medical treatment is needed. If you have a hearing, the insurance company will be represented by a lawyer.
What injuries are covered by Workers' Compensation law?
You can file a claim for workers' compensation benefits if you have an accident at work. The general rule is that a workers' compensation accident has to happen both while you are working and because of the work. However, there are many exceptions to these rules, so it is best to file for any accident that you think was work-related.
What are Workers' Compensation benefits?
Workers' compensation pays for three things: (1) time out of work; (2) medical expenses; and, (3) permanent injury (in some cases). There are also death benefits, which are paid when a worker is killed on the job or dies later as a result of a work-related injury or illness.
Workers' compensation directly pays all of the medical bills for an on-the-job accident directly. The injured worker should never pay a doctor out of pocket for medical treatment in a workers' compensation case.
The law also provides money awards for some kinds of injury if there is permanent damage. Whether there is an award depends on many things, including what body part was injured, the date of the accident, and how much time was missed from work, among other reasons.
The amount of compensation to which a person may be entitled also depends on his or her degree of disability. A person may be either partially or totally disabled. Partial disability means that a person can do some type of work, even if they cannot do the type of work they were doing at the time of the accident. Total disability is an inability to do any kind of work. In the workers' compensation system, a person who is permanently totally disabled is unable do any work of any kind, even on a part-time basis. If you are permanently totally disabled from all work, then you may be paid for life.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may also be entitled to other kinds of benefits, such as Social Security Disability, Crime Victim's Compensation, No-Fault, Long-Term Disability, or a disability retirement benefit.
Can I sue?
You cannot sue your employer or a co-worker for an on-the-job injury that was caused by their negligence: you can only file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. However, if a third party was at fault, you can sue them.