Workers Compensation Answers

A Few Things You Need to Know About Workers Compensation

What am I entitled to?

You’re entitled to be treated by a doctor of your choice and your employer is supposed to pay for it. You’re also entitled to indemnity benefits – basically lost wages – until you’re able to start working again. If you can go back to work but can’t make what you used to you’re supposed to get part of the difference between what you were making and what you can make. In some situations you can also receive vocational rehabilitation – where a specialist tries to help you get the job training you need to go back to work and also helps you find jobs if you can’t go back to what you were doing. You should also be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses for medical treatment and mileage for going to and from appointments.

What is Workers Compensation?

Workers compensation provides benefits for an employee who has suffered an injury or illness resulting from job-related duties. The benefits include medical and rehabilitation costs and lost wages for employees injured on the job. The tradeoff is you can’t sue your employer for pain and suffering. The idea is that your employer has to have workers’ compensation insurance so if you are hurt at work you can start receiving benefits right away. But it doesn’t always happen like that.

What are indemnity benefits? How are they calculated?

Indemnity benefits are basically wages you’ve lost because you can’t work. However, you don’t get your full pay. Instead you get 2/3 of what you made in the four weeks before you were hurt, up to $630 per week as of September 1, 2014. Your first check is due 14 days after your injury if you can’t return to work. Your first check will only be for one weeks’ benefits even though two have passed. If you’re still out after two weeks you’ll get a check for the week that was missed and should continue getting checks until you’re cleared to go back to work.

How do I make a claim?

Workers compensation claims are handled by the Office of Workers Compensation (the “OWC”). The first thing you need to do if you are hurt at work is report the accident to your supervisor. Your employer is required to fill out an accident form and decide whether the accident actually happened, and if so whether your injury is related to your job. They’ll send you to a company doctor to see if you were actually hurt on the job, but you have the right to go see a doctor you chose and they have to pay. If it turns out your employer doesn’t deny the workers compensation claim you should be assigned a claims adjuster and should start receiving indemnity benefits and medical care. If you don’t, or they give them to you late, we can pursue penalties and attorney fees on your behalf. If they deny the claim we can file a Disputed Claim for Compensation with the Office of Workers Compensation which will start a process that is very similar to a lawsuit. Your employer will have an attorney to try to beat your claim. You should too.

Sending us information about your potential case does not mean we will automatically represent you – you are telling us about your situation in order for us to evaluate whether we believe you have a case which we may choose to handle on your behalf. We will review your circumstances and let you know as soon as possible whether we can discuss your potential case with you further. The information you give us is confidential and can’t be shared with anyone outside of our office.