What Exactly is Workers’ Compensation … and How Can You Claim It?

What Exactly is Workers' Compensation ... and How Can You Claim It?

Unless you’ve actively sought workers’ compensation in the past, you might be in the dark about what it involves, how it benefits employees, and what steps to take to claim it successfully.

To clear up all of these questions and more, read on for a rundown on the ins and outs of workers’ compensation!

The basics

Simply put, workers’ compensation is a type of compulsory insurance which employers take out so that if team members are injured, fall ill or are rendered disabled in the line of duty, a financial payout is available.

It’s essentially an arrangement which means that businesses don’t get sued by their employees when disaster strikes on-site. However, the process of filing a claim is complicated, and legal professionals are still involved on both sides.

The benefits

A workplace injury or accident which leaves you unable to work as usual, or diminishes your quality of life indefinitely, has been seen as something worthy of compensation for many decades.

You can receive cash and other types of support to cover things like lost income, as well as medical bills, as part of a compensation claim.

Hire an experience lawyer to help with your workers’ compensation claim

While not strictly necessary, it is very useful to have an experienced attorney on your side when filing a claim for workers’ compensation.

As you’d expect, you’ll have the best chance of success if working with a specialist in the field who’s also based locally to you. For example, getting a New York workers’ compensation lawyer to help issue a worker’s compensation claim if you are based in the Big Apple yourself is better than looking further afield.

Laws vary from state to state, and you want to be confident that your legal representative knows the ins and outs of the rules and regulations where you live to make the claim process as smooth as possible.

The caveats

If your employer offers a workers’ compensation package, then you should know that by taking advantage of it you are also relinquishing your ability to sue your employer for negligence further down the line.

It’s basically a calculated risk, in the sense that your use of such a scheme guarantees that a payout is available in the event of an accident or issue, while limiting your legal options if you did want to take things further.

For most purposes, the available insurance payout will be adequate, and of course the legal fees are limited by statute and rolled into the package where necessary, so you don’t have to be too concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney in this context.

Another sticking point is that you generally need to be a full time employee to receive coverage from any workers’ compensation policy that an employer offers; if you’re a contractor or a freelancer, you are out of luck.

There are some exceptions to this, but they are in the minority, so most self-employed individuals will have to take other routes to receive compensation.

The considerations

So what should you do if you want to claim workers’ compensation? Well, aside from getting in touch with a lawyer as discussed above, it’s also important to document the details of the issues you are faced with as thoroughly as possible.

As well as taking pictures of any injuries, and getting information on witnesses where relevant, you need to report everything to your employer as soon as possible.

The more you have in writing, along with additional evidence, the better the chance you stand of making a successful claim. And now you know more about what’s involved, there’s no reason to hold back!

What Exactly is Workers' Compensation ... and How Can You Claim It?
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What Exactly is Workers' Compensation ... and How Can You Claim It?
BDC July 2022 issue - 294

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