What to Know About: Worker’s Compensation

Legally employed workers are often protected from injuries sustained at their place of work due to the worker’s compensation insurance that most employers are required to possess. Because these injuries can cause sudden financial hardships for the injured employee and his family or dependents, worker’s compensation is intended as a means to pay the injured worker’s bills and medical costs during the recovery period.

These payments are capped and employers are protected from lawsuits but must provide worker’s compensation benefits to injured employees regardless of fault of injury. Much of the worker’s compensation process is intended to be streamlined for efficient and accurate filing of claims, but there are several intricacies that both employers and employees must bear in mind.

This worker’s compensation overview will help you gain a better understanding of the process if you’ve been injured at work or if you are an employer who wants to learn more about your compensation obligations. As policies vary by state, it is important to consult with a professional to fully understand your rights and commitments.

WORKER’S COMPENSATION COVERAGE

Worker’s compensation is not dependent upon who’s fault the injury resulted. However, there are legal penalties for those that attempt to claim false injury or misrepresent themselves on official filings. Any injures that are incurred while in service of an employer are subject to consideration. Injuries do not have to take place at the physical work place if the work is carried out remotely.

This also includes work-related functions where work is not necessarily being performed. Examples include company retreats, office parties, business trips, etc. Injuries occurring during an employee’s lunch break may be covered if it occurs in a company owned cafeteria or similar setting. These claims can be denied, however, if it can be determined that the employee was working in an unsafe manner of his or her own volition or was otherwise impaired from alcohol or drug use.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

One thing to keep in mind is the statute of limitations. There is a deadline that worker’s compensations claims must be filed by in relation to the date of the injury in question. For some states, like Ohio, the employee is allowed two years from the time of the work-related injury to file. Other states, such as Nevada, have a much smaller window, allowing only ninety days to pass.

Because these dates vary by state to state, it is important that you check with your state’s policy or consult a professional.

THE GOING AND COMING RULE

Work-related injuries that merit worker’s compensation benefits do not have to occur on the job site. However, the commute to and from work is often not covered by most worker’s compensation plans. There are exceptions to this rule if the commute was from one work-related site to another or if it was in service of transportation of work-related materials. Injuries incurred by employees while performing their duties in work vehicles like pilots and mass-transit drivers are typically exempt from the Going and Coming Rule.

Because there are several variables involved in determining what falls under the Going and Coming Rule it is suggested you consult with a professional like the lawyers and Ziccarelli and Martello to better understand your rights.

AM I COVERED?

For the most part, worker’s compensation coverage is not determined through the type of work performed or its level of difficulty. Some states, like Idaho and Wyoming, have restrictions placed on undocumented workers. Conversely, California, Arizona, and Texas specifically include undocumented workers under the purview of their state’s worker’s compensation. Depending on the state, other potential filing restrictions may include certain agricultural and seasonal workers, domestic workers such as nannies and housekeepers.

If you are unsure if you qualify to receive compensation following a work-related injury be sure to keep up-to-date and accurate medical records of your injury diagnosis and consult a professional who can help determine you best course of action.

OVERVIEW

Most injuries occurring while performing work-related tasks, regardless of where they are committed, are subject to worker’s compensation claims. There are several, significant exceptions to the rule that must be taken into consideration while filing. Additionally, statute of limitations and other state-related variables all affect worker’s compensation claims.

Because of the uncertainty and the time-sensitive nature of the process it is highly advised employees planning to file a worker’s compensation claim seek professional legal advice like that of the experts at Ziccarelli and Martello who specialize in worker’s compensation law.

10 Common Misconceptions About Workers Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Claims Aren’t Worth Filing

-Despite the fact that you think there may be factors disqualifying your claim or you’re unsure of an outcome, there will likely be additional benefits you’er unaware of. Even if you think you have a “minor” injury, claim are definitely worth filing.

My Employer Will Have My Best Interest At Heart

-No matter how strong of a bond you think you have with your employer, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will look out for you after an injury occurs. The best route to take is to have an experience legal partner who can help navigate the situation and ensure your interest as the top priority.

Independent Contractors Are Never Eligible For Workers’ Comp

-This depend on the situation. There some cases in which an independent contractor is eligible for workers’ compensation. It helps to have a good attorney when deciding in these situations.

It’s Not Worth Fighting Denied Claims

-If at first your claim is denied, you have the right to file and appeal and have your case re-examined in another hearing in front of the industrial commission.

Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Cut And Dry

-There are a number of factors that contribute to a workers’ compensation claim. Each claim has its own unique details and the outcomes and benefits can vary widely for each one. That’s why it vitally important to get an attorney experience in workers’ compensation law.

You Don’t Have Control Over Doctors Chosen To Cover Comp-Covered Injury

-In Ohio, there is no law or regulation that prohibits you from choosing your own doctor for an approved workers’ compensation claim.  

Workers’ Compensation Claims Don’t Cover Consultation; Only Treatment

-It’s a very common misconception that workers’ compensation covers only medical treatment. This is false. There is no need for you to pay anything out of pocket for medical consultation.

Emergency Medical Services Are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation

-Given the approval of your claim, emergency room visits and emergency response services are both covered benefits of a workers’ compensation claim.

You’re Not Eligible To File Both Personal Injury AND Workers Compensation Claims

-You do in fact have the ability to file both claims. There are different benefits for each.

My Employer Can Fire Me If I Pursue A Workers’ Comp Claim

-Many people who file workers’ compensation claims do so apprehensively due to a fear of being fired after being hurt at work. These individuals need not worry because it is in fact illegal for an employer to fire an employee for filing a claim.

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