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Friday, November 16, 2012

Workers compensation: What you need to know

By Victoria Heckstall

Most people think that if they are hurt at work that they are covered by workers compensation automatically. However this is not the case because workers compensation is paid to the employee by the insurance company, and it is not easy getting them to pay for injuries. Workers compensation was made to avoid, or reduce the personal injury lawsuits between the employee and the employer. Here is what you need to know about workers compensation.

Benefits of workers compensation and are you really covered?

Workers compensation will provide wage replacement if you are injured at work. It will cover you, but it is covered by your employer who holds the policy for the insurance. It is there for protection for the employer to make sure you don’t sue them for your injuries. Before workers compensation coverage can work for you, it will have to be proven that the relationship does exist between the employee and the employer and that the injury did indeed happen while you were at work. If, however, you were injured while driving to work then you are not covered by workers compensation.

How to get medical care and other benefits

In order to get your benefits through workers compensation you will need to report the injury to your employer. You will also have to do everything that needs to be done in order to qualify. This means cooperating with all parties involved with the claim. Once the injury is reported, your employer should have everything in place already including a plan and an insurance policy for these things. However, you will need to report the injury immediately or you will lose out on it. Delaying things could hurt you with your workers compensation claim.

You will also be asked to let them know everything about what happened leading up to the injury. This is to ensure you were not using drugs or alcohol beforehand, and to ensure that the injury was legitimate and was caused by work.

If you need to go to the hospital, let your employer know about it. You will probably need to visit the insurer’s doctor in order to qualify for workers compensation. However, if the care their doctors are giving you is not working, you will be allowed to see another doctor. In order to have those medical bills covered, you will have to provide information as to why the workers compensation doctors did not help you and why the new doctor did.

You will also have to fill out some forms. You will need to read everything carefully and submit them right away. Make sure to keep all appointments through the workers compensation insurers or things could be delayed or your claim could even be denied.

Do you need an attorney?

You can see an attorney, but may not need to do so in every single case. You should at least contact one and get information about workers compensation from them and then go from there to consider hiring one. There is nothing preventing you from talking to an attorney, so things might be easier and go faster if you do. 

About the author: This guest post comes from freelance writer Victoria Heckstall. She writes on a variety of topics including PEO Services.