The worker's compensation law provides a claim and benefit system for workers who become ill, or who are injured or who die on the job. A qualified medical evaluation must establish a clear connection between the illness, injury or death. An illness qualifies as an occupational illness when the nature of the job increases the worker's risk of suffering from that disease. Illnesses that are the gradual result of working conditions are now being recognized by many states. An injury will be covered under the law if there is a connection with the job. Not only are accidents on the job covered, but injuries due to repeated use of body parts. A worker suffering from back strain from lifting heavy items would qualify for compensation, for example. Any employee suffering from a condition that is aggravated by the workplace will also be evaluated for workers compensation. Finally, dependents of workers who are killed on the job or who die as a result of injury or illness are eligible to collect workers compensation benefits.
If you have already filed a workman's compensation claim and have been paid for it and you re-injure yourself on the job, you can petition to re-open your claim. This is your right for your entire lifetime. However, in order to win this type of a case, you will have to prove through medical testimony, that your condition is the result of a re-injury due to a work related process or accident. Since workman's compensation law is governed by your state's particular statutes and cases interpreting these laws, you should hire a lawyer to advise and help you with a re-injury claim.
It's important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney representing your interests as an injured employee. When you meet with the attorney, be sure to ask how much of his or her practice is devoted to workers compensation law. Also, determine if the attorney has actually tried workers compensation cases. Find out how many. Ask how the attorney plans to proceed with your case. You'll want to know how much of the staff, such as paralegals, will be devoted to your case. A qualified attorney will be pleased to discuss his or her qualifications, experience and practice with you. You should consider hiring an attorney if your claim is rejected, if you are not receiving the correct compensation or if you've been fired, suspended or otherwise disciplined for filing a claim as an injured employee. Even if you are receiving workers compensation benefits, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are receiving the maximum benefits available under the law. Generally, state laws provide that the attorney be paid a percentage of the claimants recovery of benefits.
Temporary disability is the most common disability compensation paid under the worker1s compensation law. If you are unable to work, but will eventually recover from your injuries and return to work, you are eligible for temporary disability payments. You will receive tax-free payments that will substitute for the income you would have earned if you had not been injured. There are set minimum and maximum payments for those who are unable to work. Those workers who have a low wage will sometimes experience an income increase while on disability; while workers with higher salaries may notice a drop in income during this time. State laws vary, but generally speaking, workers become eligible for wage loss replacement benefits within a few days of the injury. Some states also allow for retroactive payments if an injury keeps an employee out of work for an extended amount of time.
Most state workers compensation laws have a waiting period before they take affect and begin paying the injured worker. If you return to work after an injury and within a specified period of time you are entitled to receive payments for lost income. If the waiting period has passed and you are unable to return to work, you can continue on disabled status and receive payment for lost income from the date of the injury. Income benefits are usually paid weekly. There is a maximum number of weeks you'll be eligible to receive benefits and this varies from state to state. To understand your rights as an injured employee, consult an attorney who is familiar with the workers compensation laws in the state where you are employed.
Your workers' compensation benefits may take several forms, depending upon the state where you live. Here are a few of the most common types of settlements: Costs of medical care will be paid for and that includes the services of doctors, hospitals, nurses, physical therapists, dentists, chiropractors, and the use of prosthetic devices. Temporary disability payments are tax-free and substitute for the income you would have earned had you not been injured. If your injury prevents you from returning to your job, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. In Texas, there is no provision for a lump-sum settlement of workers' compensation benefits. These payments will vary greatly with the nature and extent of your injury. And weekly compensation benefits will be paid to the surviving dependents of workers who are killed in the course of employment or as the result of a work-related injury or occupational disease. Contact an attorney familiar with workers' compensation law for more details.
Keep in mind that unemployment compensation is governed by state and not federal law. Laws may vary widely from state to state regarding eligibility requirements and benefits. In general, an employee who quits his job voluntarily and without good cause, will lose his rights to unemployment compensation. On the other hand, employees who are laid off will qualify for full benefits. Most workers will receive a benefit proportionate to the earning level of the last job held. The benefits are capped, however, at a certain amount set by state. Typical disqualifying conditions include: termination for willful or negligent conduct; refusing suitable work; or making false statements to the state agency administering unemployment benefits.
If you are injured on the job and your employer does not have workmans' compensation coverage or the employer is not a duly authorized self-insurer, you have a valuable claim. There are severe state penalties for employers who do not carry the proper workers' compensation insurance, when it is required by law. Each state has differing laws and the procedures for handling such a claim also vary from state to state. Hire a lawyer who is familiar with the workers' compensation laws and don't be deterred because of a lack of money. Many lawyers will represent you on a contingency basis rather than charging an hourly fee.
Each state has its own workers compensation plan. In most states, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation services to assist your return to work. Rehabilitation for several types of injuries may be included in your coverage. A few states limit the right to vocational rehabilitation to serious injuries only. If you find that the medical treatment you are receiving from an employer-supplied physician is inadequate, speak to the human resources manager at your place of employment. Or if you believe that you could benefit from vocational rehabilitation services check with your employer about filing a claim. On the other hand, your benefits can be revoked, if you refuse to take part in required vocational rehabilitation. If you are asked to participate in a program and you are not physically able to do so, you may wish to hire a workers compensation attorney. To fully understand your rights as an injured employee, consult an attorney who is familiar with workers compensation law.
If you suffer a work-related injury or illness that prevents you from working, you are eligible to receive benefits from the state workers' compensation program. Worker's compensation laws provide money to pay for medical expenses and to replace lost income. The employee is not required to prove that the injuries were caused by negligence of the employer in order to recover under the workers compensation laws. The benefits under these laws are limited however. Generally speaking, employees cannot collect punitive damages from the employer. The cost of providing workers compensation is solely the responsibility of the employer, usually through the purchase of a compensation policy from an insurance company. The cost for the policy cannot be deducted from the employee's wages. If the disability is permanent or results in death, additional benefits are available to the employee and the immediate family.
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