If you have been injured while working at a construction site, your financial recovery may be affected by Workers' Compensation laws, depending on your employment situation and the degree of liability on your employer's part. Following is a brief examination of the typical Workers' Compensation procedure, but remember that your attorney will determine the extent of your employer's liability. Keep in mind that parties other than your employer may be legally responsible for your injuries (such as third-party contractors, property owners, or equipment manufacturers) and your recovery from those parties will not be affected by Workers' Compensation laws. If you or your loved one has suffered injuries as the result of a construction accident, consult a workers' compensation attorney to learn if you qualify for compensation. A lawyer experienced in and workers' compensation can help you learn what your rights are.
What Is Workers' Compensation?
Worker's compensation is a system of laws outlining specific benefits to which an injured employee is entitled, including lost wages and medical expenses. In other words, it's an important safety net for employees when they are injured on the job or as a result of a job.
Most businesses must have workers' compensation insurance to cover its employees. Filing a workers' compensation claim is similar to filing any other insurance claim. It isn't a lawsuit against an employer, rather a request for benefits.
Under most workers' compensation programs, an injured employee is entitled to:
The injured party has the right to all reasonable necessary treatment to cure or relieve the effects of the injury. Included under medical treatment compensation are all medical bills, prescriptions and even roundtrip mileage to the hospital.
Under workers' compensation benefits, a patient might have to use the company doctor, but only for a maximum of 30 days. After that time, a patient may choose a different doctor. A written request may be required.
If the injured party must take time away from work due to medical reasons related to the injury, they may be entitled to temporary disability payments. That would provide partial compensation for lost wages. There are specific maximum and minimum limits to the pay rate, but this normally equals about two-thirds of average weekly gross pay and is paid out every two weeks. After the doctor verifies inability to work, the first temporary disability check should arrive within a few weeks.
If a worker can't completely recover from the effects of the injury, they may be entitled to a monetary award. Permanent disability means that the injured party has lost some ability to compete in the open labor market of uninjured workers. The amount and rate at which it is paid depends on the limitation the injury places on activities. Other elements taken into consideration are age, occupation and earnings at the time of injury.
If the injury prevents a return to the former job, assistance in getting another job may be included in the benefits. During vocational rehabilitation, a partial income is distributed, similar to temporary disability. The vocational rehabilitation benefit usually has a maximum monetary limit and may be replaced by an offer of modified or different work from the employer.
What To Do If You Are Injured
Here are tips for filing workers' compensation claims if you are injured on the job:
Report the injury to the employer
If possible, report the injury in writing and keep a copy of the report for your records.
Complete a claim form
No matter how the employer learns of the incident, they must offer the injured party a claim form immediately. Until this claim form is completed, the employer has no obligation to provide benefits. Make sure it is filled out completely and specifically. Keep a copy of the claim. It is then the employer's responsibility to immediately notify the worker's compensation insurance company and get medical help.
File the claim as soon as possible
Those seeking to claim workers' compensation benefits should do so quickly. Any delay on the injured party's part could lead to potential snags or delays. Immediately reporting injuries and filing a claim soon increases the likelihood that benefits will begin quickly. Delays in reporting could lead to delays in benefits. If a dispute should arise regarding the claim, seek help from the workers' compensation commissioner's office in your state. Workers' compensation laws and benefits vary greatly by state.
An attorney experienced in handling construction accident and workers' compensation cases will know how to uncover all of the parties who may be responsible for your injuries.
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