Determine Your Eligibility For Workman's Comp

Hurt on the Job? How to Determine your Eligibility for Worker's Compensation

Until relatively recent times, the majority of workers in America didn't have very much in the way of legal protection if they were injured on the job. Luckily, these times have passed, and all states require most companies to have some form of worker's compensation insurance. These insurance policies allow injured workers to have their medical bills paid and also to be reimbursed for lost time at work, but it's important to note that these laws will vary by state. This is why it's so important for an injured worker to understand the laws of their specific state.

Legal Variations

The most important thing to realize when you determine your eligibility for worker's compensation benefits is that all states are different. Even with this being the case, however, there are a few things that are universal in determining whether or not a person is eligible.

Employer was legally required to carry worker's compensation insurance.
Individual must be employed at said company.
Illness or injury is work-related.

Most individuals understand that they cannot file a worker's comp claim unless they're actually working at a company and their injury is work related, so this leaves whether or not an employer was required to carry this type of insurance. In reality, this is a huge caveat.

Legal requirements will vary greatly by state. In South Carolina, for instance, employers are required to have coverage if they have four or more workers that they regularly employ. In addition, the state has exemptions for companies whose payroll is under $3,000 in a given year. In other states, however, such as Ohio, worker's compensation insurance is required for any employer with at least one worker.

Determine Your Eligibility

It's first important to consider all of the aforementioned universal requirements related to worker's compensation claims. If an individual feels as if they're eligible, they'll need to look a bit deeper into the situation. In most cases, for instance, a worker must have sustained an injury that prevents them from performing their typical duties. This means that an office assistant with a paper cut isn't likely to receive any payments. Reviewing company policies, contracts, and other documents is another excellent way to get a better feel for your eligibility and to possibly build your claim legally.

If a person wants to be 100 percent sure that they're eligible for worker's compensation payments, they'll have to check with their specific state of residence and employment. Going back to the South Carolina example, for instance, injured employees would do well to check with the state's Workers Compensation Commission. Additionally, speaking with a worker's compensation attorney can also help a person verify whether they're eligible.

Since most of these legal professionals offer free consultations and some don't charge at all unless they attain a ruling or settlement in the injured worker's favor, it never hurts to get an expert opinion.

Filing a Claim

Filing a worker's compensation claim isn't one of the most difficult things to do in the world, but it can prove complicated and time-consuming if the proper actions aren't completed in a timely fashion. In most cases, the key step is to alert the employer of the injury immediately. The employer will then provide the appropriate paperwork to get the claims process started. Once this is done, the insurer will contact the injured worker with a decision.

If for some reason, however, an employer attempts to make the whole process difficult, such as by not providing forms or by fighting an injury claim, it's imperative for the worker to get an attorney with experience, whether that means hiring a personal injury attorney Charleston firm or one from Los Angeles. This should also be the case if a claim is denied. The insurer or employer may actually be engaged in illegal behavior, known as acting in bad faith, which could lead to them having to pay an injured worker additional damages on top of what they would've initially had to pay.

Worker's compensation goes a long way in protecting injured employees, but unfortunately, some insurance providers and even employers will make this process difficult and hard to determine your eligibility in an effort to save a few dollars. Luckily, workers who are knowledgeable about their legal rights should be able to easily overcome this, and those who are represented by an attorney may not have to deal with these difficulties in the first place. No worker's comp insurer wants to end up in court for denying a claim in bad faith.

Author Molly Pearce writes to further the knowledge of anyone who works as an  of a company, small or large. People who have been injured on the job often miss out on being fairly compensated because of a lack of information on their rights.


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