Did you know that a worker is injured at the workplace every 7 seconds? Injuries in the workplace are a normal occurrence. If you’re a victim of occupational injuries or illness, you could benefit from workers’ compensation.
A workers’ compensation insurance caters to the medical expenses of the injured worker and any rehabilitation fees. If the injuries force an employee to miss work, the insurance compensates for lost wages.
If you’ve been hurt at the workplace, workers’ compensation can help. Read this guide to know more about workers’ compensation eligibility.
Workers’ Compensation Eligibility Requirements
Workers’ compensation doesn’t happen automatically. Besides being injured in the workplace, there are several requirements that you might need to know. Here’s how to determine your eligibility for workplace comps.
You Need to Be an Employee for Your Workers’ Comp to Be Admissible
It’s a no brainer that workers’ compensation is for the staff in a company. However, it is crucial to understand that not all people working in a company are considered as employees when thinking about workers’ comp. Independent contractors such as consultants and freelancers are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
States have varying rules on employees who are eligible for employees’ comp benefits. Your roles within a company can determine whether you’ll get compensation.
Your Employer Should Have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation is a requirement in many states. However, some employers don’t have this kind of insurance. It isn’t surprising to have employers who have covered five employees or fewer.
In a state where workers’ compensation is optional, applying for workers’ compensation can be futile. However, employers who are mindful of their staff get workers’ comp even if it’s not required of them. They often get insurance from state funds or private markets.
If your company doesn’t have coverage for workers, you might need to hire a lawyer if you’ve been injured. Your attorney will deal with workers comp doctors to get the medical records required in court. With a professional lawyer, you’re likely to get the compensation you deserve.
You Should Prove that Your Injury Is Work-Related
When doing a task that’s benefiting your employer, any resultant injury becomes work-related. For instance, you stand to benefit from compensation if you got ill due to hazardous chemicals or if you suffered back injuries as you load boxes to a truck within your company’s premises. However, it could be hard to establish whether an injury is work-related if it took place outside the work premises.
It would help to have witnesses, such as a supervisor. Ensure that you report the accident to your employer for your claim to be valid. Applying within the deadline is an essential part of workers’ compensation eligibility.
How to Apply For Workers’ Compensation
The process of worker’s compensation starts with reporting an accident to your employer as soon as possible. You need to be aware of the reporting periods in your state. Reporting after the specified deadline will reduce your chances of getting the benefits.
The process of applying for workers’ compensation is systematic.
Visit an Approved Physician
When you’re injured, the first step is to visit a healthcare provider. Delays can cause you further injuries besides risking your benefits. Your doctor will provide you with a medical report that you can file when claiming your workers’ compensation.
Start Your Claims Process
After reporting an incident, your employer will give you appropriate documents to kickstart the claims process. The form will have all the information regarding the insurance company. You should then file a claim with the insurer within the set deadline.
The claim needs to include all the mandated paperwork, medical reports, and forms. You need to have the right documents before starting the claim process.
Receive the Benefits
Employers in the U.S. spend about $25 billion on workers’ compensation. If you have a valid claim, you’ll get what’s rightfully yours. You’ll start receiving the compensation payments once the insurers accept your claim.
Benefits can include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and any rehabilitation costs. If you’re unsatisfied with the offer, you can negotiate for better compensation. Insurance companies might lead you in circles to take their offer, which is often lower.
Returning to Work
Companies usually have a return-to-work policy that ensures that workers who have been injured at the workplace return to work in a timely and safe manner. The policy helps both employers and employees. Employers reduce cases of lost productivity while workers maintain their source of income.
The physician’s recommendation determines the right schedule of return to work for an injured employee. A worker in this situation can work part-time or full-time, depending on the injury’s extent. Employers need to make changes to accommodate an employee who’s transitioning to the workplace after an injury.
Frustrations during the claim process and returning to work aren’t new. Insurance companies and employers often try to deny injured workers their rightful compensation. It would help to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to protect your rights if you’re confident about your workers’ compensation eligibility.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Eligibility Is Crucial for All Employees
Workplace accidents across most industries are prevalent. Despite following safety measures, you might be a victim of injuries at the workplace. If so, you need to know how to get workers comp.
Once you know about workers’ compensation eligibility, you’ll determine whether your situation is admissible. Rightful compensation will help you pay for resultant medical expenses and cover for lost wages.
In some cases, it can be best to hire a workers’ comp attorney to guide you through the process. With the insurer trying as much as possible to lower the offer, having a professional to negotiate for you will level the ground. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer understands the law and what it takes to get you the best compensation.
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