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PERSONAL INJURY BLOG
The short answer to this question is yes––if you have sustained a job-related injury, you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. All states and the federal government have workers’ compensation laws that require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance and that enables injured workers to be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and any permanent disabilities they suffer due to a work-related injury or illness.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault insurance program which provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illness. It pays for necessary and reasonable medical treatment, and provides temporary disability benefits to compensate for lost wages, and when documented, benefits for any permanent disability that results from your injury or illness.
State laws require almost every employer to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, meaning that just about every employee, whether they are a temporary or permanent worker, working full or part-time, been on the job ten years or ten minutes, is eligible for workers’ compensation.
Employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees in exchange for protection from any additional liability for work-related injuries or illnesses suffered by their employees.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must be working under a clear employee-employer relationship. With very few exceptions, workers’ compensation insurance does not cover workers where a clear employee-employer relationship does not exist, such as interns, volunteer workers, and independent contractors.
Employees are sometimes misclassified as independent contractors by their employers when they are rightly working under an employee-employer relationship. When this happens, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits that you are rightly entitled to receive. If you suspect this in your case, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you appeal the denial of your benefits.
What Injuries are Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?
If you sustain a job-related injury, or if you contract a job-related illness, or have a preexisting condition that is made worse because of your job, you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
For example, if you break a leg, sprain an ankle, or suffer a head injury in a job-related accident, you will be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Similarly, if you become ill or develop a medical condition, such as mesothelioma, carpal tunnel syndrome, or persistent back pain as a result of years of performing your job duties, or if you suffer from a pre-existing condition such as asthma, which is exacerbated by your job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits
In all cases, however, the injury or illness must be job-related. In other words, it must have arisen during the course of performing your duties under an employee-employer relationship.
So, for example, if you were injured in a car accident while out making deliveries for your employer, this would qualify as a job-related injury and be covered under workers’ compensation.
On the other hand, if you were injured in a car accident while running personal errands on your lunch break, the injury may not qualify for worker’s compensation benefits, unless running these errands somehow benefited your employer as well.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits may be provided on a temporary or permanent basis. In order to qualify to receive temporary disability benefits under workers’ compensation, you must be unable to work for more than 7 days.
For permanent disability benefits under workers’ compensation, you will need to be evaluated by a physician, who will then determine (as a percentage of disability) the nature and extent of your inability to meet your occupational, social, and personal needs. Once this is established, you may be eligible to receive benefits on a permanent basis that will adequately compensate you for any resulting permanent limitations to your ability to perform your job, gain new employment, and/or earn a living.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ compensation law can be complex. Consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is the best thing you can do to ensure that you receive all of the benefits you are entitled under your state’s workers’ compensation law.
For more information, visit Workers’ Compensation » We are committed to helping injured workers recover both physically and financially from job-related injuries and illnesses.
Most accident victims don’t comprehend the difference between opening an insurance claim and filing a lawsuit. They assume that once you make an insurance claim, you automatically open a lawsuit as well, but this not necessarily true.
You can open an insurance claim without filing a lawsuit as long as you do so before the statute of limitations for filing a claim has expired. An experienced attorney will make sure that you don’t let the statute of limitations lapse without filing a claim or lawsuit to recover the damages you have suffered as a result of the accident.
In most cases, an insurance claim is filed first without a lawsuit being filed. In fact, a lawsuit is usually only filed if the insurance company is being unreasonable with regards to paying you a fair and appropriate settlement.
Opening An Insurance Claim After An Accident
An insurance claim is the informal process by which you seek compensation for your injuries and losses from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Opening an insurance claim simply requires making a phone call or sending a letter to the insurance company. Once they have been contacted, they will open claim for you and give you a claim number.
You and your attorney will then collect all of your medical records and medical bills, document all of your lost wages and property damage, and assess the amount of pain and suffering you will have to endure, then submit everything directly to the insurance company. Once this is done, you will contact the insurance adjuster or the representative for the insurance company and begin negotiating a settlement for your damages.
If the insurance company is fairly certain that their insured is at fault (or primarily at fault) for the accident in which you were injured, they will respond to you with a reasonable settlement offer. On the other hand, if they don’t believe that their insured is at fault (or primarily at fault), they may deny your claim or respond with a very low settlement offer. You, with the help of an experienced attorney, will then need to decide whether to continue your attempt to negotiate with the insurance company, accept the offer being made to you, or to file a lawsuit to seek the compensation you deserve.
Filing A Lawsuit After An Accident
A lawsuit, specifically a personal injury lawsuit, is the formal legal process in which you seek to recover damages from the party that has caused you harm. It requires you to have an attorney file certain papers with the court and following on through legal proceedings with the case.
During the lawsuit, subpoenas and depositions will be used to gather information regarding the accident, the nature of your injuries, and the damages you seek. In addition, the parties to the lawsuit may employ witnesses to testify in court in support of their position. Ultimately, however, a lawsuit will be resolved either by actually going to trial and having a jury determine the value of your case, or by settling it out of court, perhaps through a process called mediation.
Either way, there are significant differences between opening an insurance claim and filing a lawsuit. Most importantly, an insurance claim can be resolved within a few months after you finish being treated for your injuries. On the other hand, a lawsuit can go on for years without being resolved. For this reason, lawsuits are usually reserved for more serious injuries, where the injured person will require more extensive medical treatment and/or where the amount of damages under consideration is relatively high.
Other Factors That May Lead To A Lawsuit Being Filed
As mentioned above, an insurance claim is usually opened first without a lawsuit being filed, unless the lawsuit is necessary to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve. However, some attorneys prefer to file a lawsuit earlier in the process—sometimes before making a settlement demand and sometimes before you are finished being treated for your injuries.
There are two strategic reasons this. First and most common, in a particularly busy jurisdiction the waiting time between filing a lawsuit and having a trial scheduled can be very long—as long as several years. In that situation, it might be beneficial to file a lawsuit as soon as possible in order to get in line for a trial date.
Secondly, sometimes a lawyer will go ahead and file a lawsuit simply because he or she knows that the case has very little chance of settling. This might be because the particular insurance company or adjuster has refused to settle cases similar to yours in the past, or because your accident occurred in a jurisdiction where insurance companies, in general, rarely settle cases such as yours. Based on this experience, your lawyer might see no point in waiting to file a lawsuit.
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
Whether you accept a settlement offer or proceed to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you want, will depend on a variety of different factors, including the cost of litigating the case and the likelihood of your case succeeding. Furthermore, this decision should only be made with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Call 308-532-1963 to speak with the personal injury attorneys at the Elliott Law Office, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Learn more on our Auto Accident Personal Injury Page »
When Jay Elliott was asked, “What’s the one mistake injured people often make in regard to their legal case?” He replied, “Not getting an attorney involved early on in the process.”
Why is early representation such a critical thing? His answer may surprise you.
“In my 27 years of experience as a Nebraska personal injury and worker’s compensation lawyer, I can tell you that waiting to retain an attorney, definitely hurts your case.”
“It is important to come see me in the early stages after an accident and injury because there is so much more I can do to help you –and your case, at that point. For example, I can recommend appropriate physicians. It is critical to choose a treating or evaluating doctor who is willing to be an advocate for you. It has been my experience that many doctors have very little interest in being involved in litigation cases. So, choosing the wrong doctor can really hurt your case in the long run. I can recommend physicians and specialists who have proven they will go to bat for their patients. And, believe me, not all doctors will.”
“Another thing to consider is the fact that there are time limitations in which to file personal injury and worker’s compensation cases. The Nebraska personal injury deadline is four years from the date of the accident. In worker’s compensation cases, the filing deadline is two years.”
“Bottom line is it matters to me that my clients get the very best medical AND legal help. I can do that most effectively when I am involved in a case early on.”
It is important to remember that Elliott Law Office provides free initial consultations on all personal injury and worker’s compensation cases, so don’t wait to contact us.
Sooner, really is better!