When Applying for Workers’ Comp Benefits, Letting an Attorney Do It for You may be More Advantageous
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics received more than 2,900,000 reports of non-fatal injuries involving employees in both the government and private sectors. More than a quarter of these accidents occurred in job sites, where employees or workers are regularly exposed to dangerous tools and hazardous substances, thus, rendering them more prone to injuries and/or illnesses.
The types of work environments where accidents and injuries are most common, include construction sites, factories, chemical or gas plants, mining areas, and railroads.
A work-related injury can have crippling effects to the victim and his/her family. It will not only leave a victim suffering from pain, but probably in financial difficulties too due to cost of medical treatment and loss of wages as his/her injury will surely render him/her incapable of going back to work immediately. Thus, to save injured workers from possible financial difficulties, the government passed into law the Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefit which is designed to provide immediate cash benefits to workers who get injured during the performance of their job or who develop a severe illness due to regular exposure to toxic substances in the workplace.
Workers’ Compensation is meant to cover lost wages, medical treatment, rehabilitation, disability and death, if the injury leads to it. Filing a claim requires the following:
- Independent medical examination (IME), which is an exam done by a doctor accredited by the insurance provider;
- Notification of employer within 30 days after the injury was sustained or when the illness was discovered.
- Filling out and submission of all forms and required documents. The documents should contain all important information about the injured worker, such as name, address, Social
Security Number, date and time when injury was sustained, the place where the worker was injured, full description of the injury, the employer’s name and address, the date the employer was informed of the injury, plus other vital information. There is a statute of limitation within which a claim will have to be filed. In some states, the statute of limitation extends up to two years.
Workers’ Compensation is mandated and administered by the state. It is required that employers make Workers’ Compensation coverage a part of employee benefits. To this end, employers have the freehand whether to purchase it through a third-party insurer or to operate under a self-insured policy.
Despite a qualifying injury or illness and the legitimacy of a claim, however, the Hankey Law Office knows that filing a claim is often more difficult than it seems. This is because many employers deny even legitimate claims to save themselves time and money – a practice which, though reprehensible, is hard for an employee to contest.
Due to this, it may be necessary for a claimant to seek legal assistance from a competent workers’ comp attorney, who is familiar with the system and with the tactics employed by insurance providers and employers in denying claims or in delaying payment of benefits.