Written by Keith V. Trantolo
M.M. Colchester, CT
After you get injured on the job there are multiple hurdles to face, including medical care, paying your bills and supporting your family. After your workers’ compensation claim is accepted, payment is provided to the medical providers for your treatment.
Workers’ Compensation Claims; What You Need to Kow
Your employer is required to carry a state or federal workers’ compensation policy in the event of a claim. Prior to these laws that went into effect at the state level in the early 20th century, any worker injured on the job had to sue his or her employer and prove negligence occurred. If unable to do so, the employee would not receive assistance with medical costs or time off from work.
Now a compromise between businesses and laborers, these laws allow any worker to receive payment for on-the-job injuries, even if you behaved in a careless fashion. Unlike a standard personal injury lawsuit, you don’t need to prove the employer was somehow at fault.
However, the final settlement won’t include pain and suffering and you ultimately waive the right to sue your employer.
HOW DOES WORKERS’ COMP WORK?
For your claim to be accepted, you need to prove you were hurt on the work-site or while traveling on the job and that the injury was related to the duties performed. Even if you are injured while working, your employer has the right to deny that certain injuries occurred. We will work diligently to get the treatment needed for your injuries paid for by workers’ compensation.
Once your claim has been approved, you will receive weekly compensation for lost wages, permanent impairment, medical bills and vocational rehabilitation. However, these benefits may vary based upon where you’re located, whether the condition is temporary or permanent and whether you have a total or partial disability.
A temporary disability means you’re in the process of recovering and will get better with time, while a permanent disability won’t improve. A total disability describes individuals who won’t be able to work as a result, while a partial condition means the individual still has limited employment options.
Along with these factors, permanent partial disability (PPD) payments are based on the percentage of disability, multiplied by the amount of weeks allowed for your recovery per workers’ compensation guidelines.
In addition to providing about two-thirds of your weekly pay, your workers’ compensation benefits cover all medical treatments and vocational rehabilitation. For the latter, the state requires your company’s insurer to pay for retraining or further education, should your disability prevent you from returning to your former line of work.
EXCEPTIONS TO FILING A CLAIM
While most injured employees can file a workers’ compensation claim, a few exceptions exist.
For instance, laws like the Jones Act and Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) prevent ship and interstate railroad workers from filing claims.
For other occupations, if the injury occurred intentionally on the job or from behavior not related to the duties performed, your claim may be rejected.
An employee may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit instead of or in conjunction with a workers’ compensation claim if:
- The injury is the result of a defective product. In these cases, you can claim workers’ compensation and then file a claim against the product’s manufacturer.
- A toxic substance is responsible for the injury.
- The employer’s intentional, negligent and potentially illegal conduct brought about the injury. Here, you have the option of pursuing a claim against your employer.
- Your employer doesn’t carry a workers’ compensation policy. You can start a personal injury claim to receive compensation because your employer is violating Connecticut state law.
- A third party is responsible for your injuries.
WHY WORK WITH A LAWYER?
After you file a claim, you should be able to receive benefits within days. Yet, in certain situations, your injuries may be serious, but your company’s insurance policy refuses to pay for your treatment. Or, your employer is uncooperative and delays your claim in the early stages of the injury.
Additionally, in the process of getting your benefits, you go through a conference. Here, you, your employer and their insurance carrier reach a settlement. If you can’t reach an agreement on an appropriate amount, your claim then goes to the state workers’ compensation board.
In all of these instances, legal representation becomes a necessity for getting the insurer to approve your treatment, getting your employer to take action or simply receiving the compensation you deserve. Furthermore, should a personal injury lawsuit need to be pursued in addition to your workers’ compensation claim, you will need legal assistance to go through the process.
When you’re having difficulty filing or discover your injuries stemmed from another party’s negligence, Trantolo & Trantolo can help. Handling both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, our team can assist with getting the benefits you deserve. To speak with one of our attorneys, give any one of our Connecticut locations a call today.