Gulf Coast Workers Compensation Attorney
If you are hurt on the job, you are entitled to certain rights under workers’ compensation laws. These rights vary from state to state and are issued by the federal government as well. As a rule, it is important that you make yourself aware of exactly what is covered by your employer in the event of an accident. Here are a few general facts you should know about your rights at work.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of state-mandated insurance given to employees who have been injured or have fallen ill as a direct result of their job. In exchange for this benefit, employees relinquish the ability to sue his/her employer directly for whatever negligence that caused the incident. Employers in every state are required by workers’ compensation laws to provide these benefits.
Are You Eligible for Benefits?
In order to qualify for the insurance, you must be categorized as an employee of the company. The insurance is designed to provide medical coverage for any accident that happens on the job, whether on the premises or off, even if it is the fault of the hurt employee. It also provides disability payments, typically 2/3 of your regular wages, during recovery while away from work. Medical treatment should be paid for as long as necessary. The terms regarding payment will vary state to state. Most, but not all, injuries are covered under workers’ compensation. Also, you can be denied benefits in some cases. If the injury is caused while intoxicated or while using illegal drugs, it will not count towards workers’ comp. Other instances that may disqualify an employee from eligibility include self-inflicted injuries like starting a fight, injuries suffered while committing a crime, or injuries incurred when violating company policy. Independent contractors, undocumented workers, as well as seasonal, domestic, or agricultural workers are also ineligible for workers’ comp benefits.
How To Handle An Accident At Work
In the event of an accident, you will need to fill out an accident report form provided by your employer. If you are a union member, notify your union representative as well. Be sure to report all accidents or injuries right away. Even if it is minor and does not seem to require immediate medical attention, inform your job immediately of the incident. Otherwise, your employer could deny you medical treatment and other workers’ compensation benefits. Many businesses have a strict window of time for on-the-job incidents to be reported, and if you fail to notify them when it first happened, they could easily say the injury was not work-related. Also, be sure to put everything in writing and report the accident in the presence of someone who was a witness.
Navigating Work After An Accident
Your doctor will determine when you are ready to go back to work and have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). He/she will complete a Return to Work form that will be submitted to your place of employment. This document will confirm that you are cleared to go back to your job, and it will let your employer know if your condition requires lighter work or not. You will also need to notify the workers’ comp lead of your return, and partner with your manager to create an effective Return to Work Policy that reflects your current health. The policy is designed to transition you back into your position. If you are partially disabled from your injury, and require additional accommodations, work with the lead and your physician to determine a good alternative that will allow you to still be productive but perhaps in a different capacity. Should you be cleared to return to work, but with certain physical restrictions that place you in a lower paying position, you may be eligible for a partial reimbursement for the difference in pay.
Returning to Work After A Lawsuit
If your job-related accident resulted in a lawsuit, you may feel apprehensive about returning to work. Perhaps you feel the environment may be more aggressive and less supportive, or that returning to work may give off the message that you are not really injured. It is imperative to have a discerning nature, particularly when dealing with a lawsuit. For the most part, injured employees are protected under workers’ compensation laws, but do not unreasonably miss time that isn’t outlined by your physician. Following as closely to the Return to Work Policy as possible will look good for your case and will demonstrate a strong work ethic and a willingness to get the job done. However, if you and your doctor have determined that you are not yet recovered enough to perform in the full capacity, you should reconsider the plan. It must also be noted that companies are not required to keep you employed if you are impaired from returning to your previous job and there is not a comparable position available.
How A Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a lawyer can absolutely improve your case, particularly if you are suffering from a more serious injury. Accidents at work are not to be taken lightly. You could potentially lose money and compensation in the process, seriously affecting you and your family’s well-being. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, who understands how to handle workers’ compensation cases and local laws, will help to ensure you get the benefits you need.
What We Can Do For You
At Alexander Shunnarah & Associates, we are committed to helping those who have been injured on the job. Your pain and suffering due to an accident is taken very seriously. We understand the importance of restoring justice, and we will fight for you and protect your interests. The civil jury system provides the best deterrent for companies that aim to avoid covering its employees in a workers’ compensation claim. With over 40 combined years of trial and litigation experience, we guarantee you receive compensation for legitimate physical and financial suffering. Our personal injury attorneys are licensed in multiple states, with offices in Mobile, AL, Gulfport, MS, Atlanta and Macon, GA, and Gainesville, Tallahassee, Pensacola and Panama City, FL.
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