Often times workplaces are safe environments in order to keep employees productive and happy. Unfortunately, there can be cases where unsafe conditions can arise at a workplace through negligence, failure to properly maintain equipment, failure to properly mark hazardous areas, or poor construction. Even the actions of coworkers can cause unsafe conditions through rough-housing/harassment or other actions that may not be condoned by the employer. These unsafe conditions may not seem like significant threats but can often lead to significant injuries. Those who experience injuries due to these conditions are often able to receive benefits through a worker’s compensation claim. There are restrictions on when an injury has to be reported. Contacting an attorney immediately is very important when dealing with worker’s compensation injuries so that complications do not arise from the time limits. These time limitations often vary from state-to-state but it can be as short as a few days. Even if you are unsure whether or not your injury qualifies for a worker’s compensation claim, an attorney can help you decide whether or not to pursue a case. The longer the time between the incident and the report will cause the employer or insurance company to view your claim with skepticism and may unnecessarily delay any benefits that are due to the victim.
The most common types of injury claims include strains, cuts, contusions, and fractures. While a concussion may seem like a mild injury and possibly not substantial enough to warrant a worker’s compensation case, some people might not realize that a concussion is actually a very valid injury. A concussion is actually a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms of a concussion can be very subtle and do not need to be caused by a blow or a jolt significant enough to cause loss of consciousness. Symptoms can include confusion, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and loss of consciousness, although these symptoms may not appear for days after a concussion. Serious symptoms may include a decrease in mental function, loss of physical coordination, changes in vision, or seizures. These symptoms can lead to decreased productivity, increased pain, inability to perform all necessary functions at work, and a decrease in quality of life – all of which are valid indicators of a worker’s compensation claim.
It is not uncommon for a worker’s compensation claim to be denied after filing. A denial can be frustrating, overwhelming, and demoralizing as some may be unsure what next steps to follow in dealing with the hospital bills, inability to make an income, or other physical issues. Fortunately, the victim has the right to appeal. This is where having an experienced attorney becomes extremely useful. Knowing what to include in an appeal and how to file it appropriately will contribute to a favorable decision when the insurer decides on your case.
In the case of Federal workers’ compensation, these employees are often required to abide by a different worker’s compensation system. The Department of Labor has various forms, different timelines, and differing rule-sets when it comes to worker’s compensation claims. Having an attorney on your side who knows the different ins-and-outs of the Federal worker’s compensation system can be an invaluable asset in getting the case approved.
In many cases, a victim may be tempted to use up their sick leave or paid time off in order to recover from a workplace injury. This is an unnecessary waste of personal benefits. It is not the employee’s responsibility to recover under their own benefits and funding. It is extremely important to seek an attorney’s assistance before using or exhausting sick leave. An employer legally cannot require an employee to use any of their sick time in order to recover from an injury that is obtained in the workplace or on the job. There are even specific situations in which a victim can get back any sick leave used for recovery from an injury obtained while at work.
While being treated for a workplace injury it is essential to keep track of all expenses, receipts, and take detailed notes on any funding spent that would not have been necessary under normal, healthy conditions. For example, there are rules that even allow for a victim to receive mileage reimbursement when it becomes necessary to travel for medical care, though there are often restrictions around how far the individual must be required to travel before mileage reimbursement becomes necessary. In the case of having a concussion or other TBI, sometimes the victim will be unable to drive themselves in order to receive medical care. Notes and receipts on these expenses need to be kept and added to the case.
It is also important to note that receiving benefits through a worker’s compensation claim does not automatically make the individual ineligible to receive other benefits such as long term disability or Social Security Disability benefits, though benefit amounts may be affected.
It becomes vitally important to obtain an attorney’s assistance when attempting to obtain worker’s compensation benefits for which the victim is unsure whether or not they are entitled to. There are serious penalties for trying to receive benefits that the employee is not entitled to and include fines and possibly a criminal offense if the individual wrongfully receives benefits for which they are not entitled. Fortunately, this typically requires the individual to submit false information and fabricate inaccurate details regarding the incident, but it is always best to have the assistance of an attorney when determining what benefits the victim actually qualifies for.
At Rue & Ziffra we pride ourselves on serving our community and in order to best do this we offer multilingual attorneys who are fluent in English, Spanish, and Russian. With experience from over 29,000 total cases handled by our law firm, we have the expertise necessary to advise, help file, and win claims for our clients. Having served our community for over four decades, we know what it takes to bring a case before a judge and beat the insurance companies in court in order for our client to receive the benefits due to them. Since we take cases on a contingency basis, the victim has no need to worry about paying for a retainer or any up-front fees for our services. There are no fees unless we win. We look forward to being able to assist our community with any attorney needs.