The Workers’ Compensation program began over 110 years ago. Initially, the federal program covered civilian employees to help those who engaged in hazardous work, but it wasn’t long before it covered all federal employees. State employees soon followed and by 1921, nearly every state had workers compensation laws. Today all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have workers comp programs.
While laborers, truck drivers, janitors, and nursing assistants tend to file the most claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute, just about any job, even data entry, can result in an injury, for example, repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
When and Where Do I Report an Injury?
As soon as possible after you’re injured you should report the accident to your employer. While time limits vary depending on the state you’re in, if you don’t do it within the required time frame, your claim will be denied. Should an accident occur at your workplace, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured, you should report it to your employer anyway as sometimes an injury isn’t noticeable until later. Reporting accidents and injuries as soon as you’re aware of them is critical.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation covers work-related injuries – it doesn’t cover an injury that occurs during your normal work commute, an unpaid lunch or other unpaid breaks, or accidents that happen while you’re taking part in a recreational activity. If your injury was the result of something like being intoxicated or starting a fight, in other words, your own fault, it will generally not be covered. The injury isn’t always the result of a single accident, as mentioned there are repetitive stress injuries that happen over time like carpal tunnel syndrome, or being exposed to chemicals in the workplace.
Coverage begins the minute you’re on the job, officially performing a service for your employer, and it ends as soon as you walk out the door.
What Kind of Benefits Am I Entitled To?
The specific benefits you’re entitled to depend on the laws in your state, the extent, and nature of your injury. If you’re unable to work more than several days because of the injury, you should receive disability benefits for a temporary period of time which are usually two-thirds of your regular wages. If you suffer permanent damage in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to either permanent partial disability or permanent total disability benefits, depending on the state in which it occurred.
Workers comp will cover the cost of medical treatment you receive related to the accident for as long as you need it. You may also receive rehabilitation that helps you train for a different job, or get back to the job you had.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help With My Workers Compensation Claim?
If you’re facing challenges receiving the benefits you’re entitled to, it’s a must to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Pittsburgh, or wherever you reside. If your illness or injury is severe, it may be best to contact an attorney from the start to aid you throughout your claim. The greater the illness or injuries, the more you have at stake.