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Everything You Need to Know About Workers' Compensation

Part 2 of 2

The Process (continued)
File your workers' comp claim - Your employer must provide the claim form within one day of your notification. In the event that the claim form is not provided to you, you can submit it yourself. The claim form will be available on your state webpage for the Department of Workers' Compensation. The site will also provide a telephone number.

Submitting the form will guarantee that a file is opened for you and your information is recorded. If it is difficult for you to follow the steps given on the website, secure help. If your employer follows through with filing the form, it is important that you see the form, read it carefully, and make sure that all information submitted is accurate. For many workers, these initial steps are routine and go smoothly so securing the services of a lawyer may not be necessary.

You may have up to a year to file the claim, but the longer you delay, the more likely it is that an insurance claim board will reject it, denying you benefits and compensation.

Other possible scenarios...
Your employer may file the claim form and notify the insurance carrier, assuming responsibility for the incident, without your involvement. In that case, you can expect compensation to begin promptly.

Your doctor may discover your injury or illness and indicate that the source of the problem is work related. The doctor may provide a workers' comp claim form for you and advise you and your employer to begin filing. In this case, you should still notify your employer promptly.

Your claim may be rejected. If you still feel justified in your claim and need the proceedings to move efficiently, it may be time to call a lawyer who specializes in workers' comp claims.

The Benefits
Payment of medical bills - The most fundamental benefit of all workers' comp insurance benefits is payment of medical bills for illness or injury related to the workplace. Workers are advised to read any settlement proposals from your employer carefully so that you do not forfeit your right to payment of medical care for as long as symptoms exist.

Wage replacement - Under most workers' comp insurance benefits, injured workers receive about 66% of the wages they were making at the time of the injury. Wage replacement can be expected for as long as you are unable to return to work, unable to return to your previous level of work, or until a settlement is made.

Disability - In the event that your injuries are severe enough that you will be unable to return to your previous level of work, your employer may offer a settlement. A settlement may be a one-time lump sum or may be structured smaller payments over time. Involving a lawyer to review and explain the terms of the settlement is advisable because once a settlement is agreed upon, no further claims can be made.

Workers' compensation is available to workers who sustain a work-related injury or illness. The process of filing for benefits has been structured so that securing initial benefits should be routine. Injured workers must persistently and meticulously follow all steps so that their rights are not lost and so that they can get the compensation and treatment necessary to get back on the job.