What to do if you are Injured on the Job
Here are some common questions that you should consider if you’ve been injured on the job:
Find out if you qualify for Workers Compensation
A: The law requires most businesses to have worker’s compensation insurance. If you are injured while working at your job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Q: How long do I have to work to be covered by Workers Compensation?
A: You are covered from the first day you are on the job.
Q: When should I report an accident that happened on the job?
A: You should report any accident to your employer (boss, foreman, or supervisor) immediately. If you wait more then 30 days your claim may be denied.
Q: When do I get my compensation?
A: In many States, if you are unable to return to work for more then seven days you are entitled to weekly income benefits.
Q: How much will my weekly compensation be?
A: This differs State-to-State. It is best to consult a worker’s compensation attorney.
Q: What do I do if I have trouble receiving compensation from my employers’ insurance carrier?
A: First, consult an attorney. Have your attorney talk with your employer’s insurance carrier or your self-insured employer to find out why your claim is denied. DO NOT TALK TO THE INSURANCE CARRIER YOURSELF. YOU CAN OFTEN HURT YOUR CHANCES OF SUCCESSFULLY FILING A CLAIM. Often disputes can be resolved by sharing information or obtaining medical records.
Q: How long do I have to file an Application for Adjustment of my claim?
A: The statute of limitations differs from State-to-State. If you have problems after the last date of compensation paid or in the alternative X years (however long your State’s statute of limitations is) from the date of injury. In most States, the Workers Compensation Board is unable to give legal advice about statute of limitations specific to your claim, your best bet is to contact an attorney.
Q: How should I send the Application for Adjustment of claim if the statute of limitations is in question?
A: If the statute of limitations is in question or you are very close to the statute of limitations the Application should be sent via certified mail or the date of filing will be the date that the Board received your document.
Q: Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
A: You cannot be fired because you filed a workers’ compensation claim nor can a witness be fired. You should consult an attorney if you think you were fired for one of these reasons.
Q: Is my workers compensation check taxable?
A: In many States Workers Compensation is not taxable. However, each State has its own rules. It is best to consult an accountant or tax professional to be sure.
Q: Can I go to my own doctor?
A: This also differs from State-to-State and can be a point of contention between the injured employee and the employer. In some States, the employer directs medical care. In some other States, you can pick your own doctor. If you do not feel that you are receiving adequate medical care, oftentimes you may file an Application for adjustment of Claim with the Workers Compensation Board.
Q: Should I get an attorney?
A: It is recommended that you consult an attorney if you are contemplating disputing your claim or if you feel that your rights under the Worker’s Compensation Act are not being upheld.
Q: How do I find a worker’s compensation attorney?
A: You can read our section on how to select an attorney or consult your local Bar Association.
Q: What if I have problems after a settlement?
A: In some States, you can re-open your claim for a change of condition within a certain number of years after the last day for which compensation was paid. If you are planning on re-opening your claim, IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.
Q: Can I receive Social Security Benefits or Unemployment and Worker’s Compensation at the same time?
A: Social Security benefits may be “set off” by workers compensation, meaning you may only receive partial disability benefits from other sources. It would be best to contact an accountant or tax professional.
Q: Can my employer fire me if I am unable to work because of an injury if I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits?
A: An employer may not fire you for filing a workers compensation claim. If your State is an at-will employment state, it means that an employee can be fired at any time except for a handful of reasons. If you feel you have been wrongly discharged it would be a good idea to contact a lawyer.