In 2013 alone there were 327,060 job-related sprains, strains, and tears. That same year workers suffered 229,190 slip, trip, and fall injuries and 170,450 back injuries. If you were injured at work, chances are you’re entitled to workers compensation.
What is workers compensation?
Workers compensation is a form of insurance that almost all employers are required by their state to provide for their employees. In 2011, around 125.8 million employees were covered by state and federal workers compensation laws. In Arizona, all employers with at least one full- or part-time employee are required to provide workers compensation. Employees can be compensated for injuries received while working, regardless of who was at fault. Even if the injury was caused by the employee’s own negligence, he or she may still be entitled to workers compensation.
For those injured on the job, workers compensation will supply wage replacement and medical benefits. Wages and salaries account for roughly 70% of the cost of compensation, with the remaining 30% being made up by benefits. After a three- to seven-day waiting period, workers compensation will pay for 100% of any medical costs incurred. In return for receiving these benefits, the injured employee relinquishes his or her right to sue his or her employer.
How do I file for workers compensation?
The first step towards receiving workers compensation is to let your employer know and file an accident report with the state. Many states have a limited period of time in which a report can be filed after the accident has occurred. As such, you should take care to report any and all accidents that occur while you’re at work as soon as possible. Even if the accident did not result in immediate injury, having an official report filed will help ensure that if later injuries surface, you can still be covered by workers compensation.
You should also see a doctor to address your injuries. Your employer may require you to see a specific doctor if your injuries don’t require a visit to the emergency room. If this is the case, you may be allowed you to seek a second opinion if you aren’t satisfied with your employer’s doctor.
When should I seek the counsel of a worker compensation lawyer?
If you’re concerned about your ability to receive workers compensation as a result of a workplace injury, it’s a good idea to seek the legal advice of a workers compensation attorney. Some reasons to seek a worker compensation lawyer include:
- If your injuries required surgery or other severe medical intervention.
- If your injuries will make it impossible for you to continue working at your current job or in you current job capacity.
- If your injuries will prevent you from working on a regular basis.
- If your employer has denied your claim.
- If you receive a settlement offer that doesn’t cover all of your medical costs and lost wages.
- If you receive Social Security disability benefits.
- If you feel unclear in your understanding of the workers compensation process and would like guidance.
What will my worker compensation lawyer will do for me?
Your worker compensation lawyer will help you through the claims process by ensuring you complete the necessary paperwork such as your workers compensation claim form and meet any deadlines. Workers compensation attorneys can also help you gather any medical evidence necessary to demonstrate the severity of your injury. In addition, a worker compensation lawyer can help assess any settlement offers and determine what your particular case is worth.
How do I find a worker compensation lawyer to represent me?
To find a workers compensation lawyer, you can seek referrals from colleagues, friends, or family members, or run an internet search for Arizona workers compensation lawyer. It’s important that you ensure your attorney specializes in worker compensation. Workers compensation laws are complex and the dispute process can involve complex rules and procedures. A workers compensation lawyer will know how to navigate these processes and how to ensure you receive the benefits and compensation you are due. When speaking to a potential worker compensation lawyer for your case, ask them what portion of their practice is devoted to workers compensation cases. Ultimately, you should seek a worker compensation lawyer who is experienced and who you feel confident in.