Are You Protected On The Job?
At first examination, it would appear to be a “no brainer”. If an employee is injured on the job doing an assignment as directed, than he or she should be protected. Certainly millions of Americans head off to work each day assuming that their employer has their back covered should a back (or any other) injury occur. And they need that help. According to statistics gathered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), thousands of Americans annually are seriously injured and sometimes permanently disabled by on the job mishaps.
By law in the United States, almost all employers must have health and accident insurance coverage to protect employees. This is commonly known as workers compensation. Unless an employee works for the federal government, these programs are run by states. While these programs are almost identical in a number of respects, there are some slight differences that can impact on benefits and protections.
All of these programs require employers to provide financial assistance to victims of workplace related injury or illness. Such aid generally is in the form of payments for medical treatment or partial salary until the employee can return to work. In exchange for this assistance, employees don’t sue their employers.
It should be noted that while participation in workers compensation is mandatory in most American workplaces, coverage in this program is not always guaranteed. All workers compensation claims are reviewed before being approved. Issues such as:
- forms that miss filing deadlines or that are improperly filled out
- employee behavior that is grossly negligent
- deliberate employee behavior that leads to accidents
can endanger an applicant’s workers compensation claims. If claims are denied, the claim applicant is held liable for any related expenses. When a claim is rejected, a claim applicant may appeal. However, such processes can take months. Having an attorney such as the Workers Compensation Lawyer West Palm Beach locals trust to help through this process is highly advised.
The Pros and Cons Of Workers Compensation
The good news is that the vast majority of workers compensation claims are approved after review. And in theory at least, this program relieves employees of the onus of medical care. Despite some differences, all federal and state compensation programs pay for:
- emergency transportation and care if needed
- corrective medical care
- rehabilitative therapy and followup visits
- partial salary payments for those who can’t work
The “dark side” of these programs that have proven essential for so many is that they are insurance ones. This means that keeping costs down is very important to those who administer and finance them. So while an applicant most likely won’t be rejected entirely, benefits received can be limited by:
- where a patient can be seen
- whom may treat a patient
- where rehabilitative treatment can be received and “caps” on treatment lengths
- limits on amounts of non working salaries, including “earning plateaus”
How a Workers Compensation Lawyer Can Help
Many accident workplace accident victims mistakenly believe that they must accept workers compensation claim rejections or limitations. They also may be concerned that if they challenge a workers compensation board decision, it could endanger other pending claims such as Social Security disability insurance. While this is usually incorrect, there’s no denying that filing for and navigating workers compensation claims can be confusing and frustrating. This is why the services of a workers compensation attorney can be very useful. Such an attorney can do the following:
- Help fill out and submit paperwork, including appeals
- Obtain benefit extensions for treatment, therapy, and salary
- File suits against responsible third parties such as contractors
The stress and complications created by a workplace injury are never pleasant to experience. A workers compensation lawyer can focus on obtaining benefits and assistance for the injured worker, which can free them to focus on their recovery.
A special thanks to our Authors at Franks, Koenig, and Neuwelt for their insight into Workers Compensation.