Abingdon, Bristol and Johnson City
Everyone worries what will happen if they get hurt at work. How will you pay your medical bills? How will you support your family while you are out of work? These are all questions that may run through your mind if you get hurt at work. If you are thinking about seeking workers’ compensation for your injury, don’t make these mistakes! The Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., have provided some tips to help you avoid any problems when going through the workers’ compensation process.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance that pays hospital and medical expenses that are necessary to diagnose and treat your injury. It also provides disability payments while you are unable to work (typically, about two-thirds of your regular salary), and may pay for rehabilitation, retraining, and other benefits as well. Workers’ compensation, not only protects the workers, but it also protects the business from negligence lawsuits.
How Do You Get Workers’ Compensation?
To protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents, in almost every state, businesses are required to buy workers compensation insurance. It also covers work-related illnesses. Generally, Tennessee employers not in the construction or coal mining industry, with five or more full or part-time employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on those employees. Virginia law requires that an employer who regularly employs three or more part-time or full-time employees carry Virginia workers’ compensation coverage. For those employers required to have coverage, it is mandatory, there are no waivers and no exceptions.
Workers’ Compensation – Mistakes to Avoid
There are some common mistakes to avoid when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Here are six of the most common mistakes that can cost you time, money and stress:
- Not notifying your employer about your injury right away. Waiting too long to tell your employer can put your claim at risk. Your employer could argue that your health issue is not work-related or that you are exaggerating it.
- Not going to a doctor on your employer’s approved list of physicians. You must go to one of these approved doctors, initially. After that, you can usually switch to your preferred doctor, but you must let your employer know.
- Delaying getting medical assistance. If you do not get medical help right after your injury occurred, your employer may argue that this shows that your injury was not job-related or that your injury was not serious. This can make it harder for you to get benefits. It gives your employer a reason to deny your claim. Not only that, but you could have a life-threatening condition that you may not realize unless you see a doctor. The bottom line: If you get hurt on the job, get help immediately.
- Not filing a workers’ comp claim because you think the injury is your fault. Your eligibility for workers’ comp benefits does not depend upon you being a perfect employee nor does it hinge on whether your employer created a dangerous workplace. Workers’ comp is called a “strict liability” system. This means that if you got hurt on the job, you get workers’ comp benefits regardless of who was to blame unless the injury occurred while you were under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or unapproved prescription medications or doing something expressly violating company rules at the time of your injury.
- Depending on other benefits instead of workers’ comp. No other insurance program will provide as much coverage as workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp laws exist to make sure workers are fully covered. You should take advantage of the law’s protections if you get hurt on the job.
- Not consulting a workers’ compensation lawyer. Unfortunately, accidents happen at work. You should always do your best to be safe, and your employer should always provide a safe working environment. If you do get hurt at work, contact your attorney by calling (276) 451-2056 to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., are proud to serve clients in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, TN, as well as Bristol, VA.