Many workers have never been injured at work before, so navigating workers’ compensation requirements may be a daunting task after a serious injury.
Perhaps you don’t know where to start or you’re concerned that filing a workers’ comp claim can put your job at risk. You have many unanswered questions about the process of filing a workers’ comp claim. Some of these concerns may be based on myths about claiming workers’ comp.
When you seek coverage for lost wages, medical expenses, and other net losses that result from job-related injuries, you must know how to protect your legal rights. Let’s consider four common myths about workers’ compensation.
1. You must be on the job when you’re injured to qualify for workers’ comp.
The law says you don’t need to be on the job when you’re injured to qualify for workers’ comp. Although you must suffer the injury during the course of employment, this may include non-job-related activity. For instance:
• If you perform work at an office and fall down the stairwell in your office building, these injuries may be eligible for workers’ comp if you qualify for these benefits.
• If you were walking to your employer’s lunchroom when a co-worker struck and injured you with a materials cart, you would most likely qualify for workers’ comp benefits if you are otherwise eligible to receive these benefits.
In either or both examples, you weren’t directly performing activities related to your specific job when you were injured.
2. You must be at the job site when injured to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
The law says you aren’t required to be at your job site when you sustain an injury to qualify for workers’ comp. A significant number of vehicle accidents result in workers’ comp claims. These accidents also lead to work-related deaths.
Commuting isn’t usually considered an employment-related activity but, if driving a vehicle is part of the work you do, injuries sustained in a car or truck accident are typically eligible for workers’ comp if you qualify for these benefits.
3. Workers comp is the only option if you’re injured at work.
Fortunately, workers’ comp isn’t the only option if you seek coverage for a work-related illness or injury. You may also claim damages in a personal injury lawsuit if another negligent party is responsible for your medical condition.
It’s important to realize that most employers aren’t helpful when it comes to maximizing your benefits. If you’re eligible for workers’ comp benefits, these funds may be directly disbursed by your employer. In most cases, your workers’ comp benefits will be issued from the employer’s workers’ comp insurance policy. Other than disputing your workers’ comp claim, the employer’s role in your workers’ comp process is usually quite limited. You are the only party with a vested interest in making the most of your financial recovery.
4. You don’t need a reputable lawyer to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Although the law doesn’t require you to have a reputable lawyer to file for benefits, it’s in your best interests to engage one. There’s a lot that could go wrong in the process of filing a claim. There are lots of mistakes that an injured individual can make in an attempt to handle the workers’ compensation process alone.
Because a workers’ compensation attorney files your claim on a contingency fee basis, and these fees are capped by most states, you pay only a portion of the financial recovery when your attorney secures the workers’ compensation benefits for you.