The purpose of this section is to enlighten you about workers' compensation law in general and to explain how your case will be handled by our firm. Many of the questions that you may have about your claim are answered on this page. A thorough understanding of the details of your workers' compensation claim can help promote a positive experience and, if you have a permanent injury, an adequate award or settlement.
Workers' Compensation is an insurance program established by state law which all employers having one or more employees, full or part time, are required to have for the benefit of their employees.
To be covered under workers' compensation, an employee must have received an accidental personal injury while "on the job", while working. The injury must have arisen "out of and in the course of employment", in the words of the law. Not all workplace injuries are compensable. If your injury is determined to be covered, then the employer or the employer's insurance carrier will provide medical and hospital treatment and partial income replacement benefits until you can return to work or until you reach maximum medical improvement.
The cost of the workers' compensation insurance itself is borne entirely by the employer. No payroll deductions are taken out of individual employees' paychecks. If your claim is found to be compensable, your weekly benefits and all medical bills will be paid by employers or their insurers. Do NOT send bills to the Workers' Compensation Commission.
State law requires every employer to post an official notice in a prominent site at the workplace. It's usually put up on an employee bulletin board, by a time clock, in an employee lunchroom, or at some similar location where workers will see it. The poster identifies the employer as having obtained workers' compensation insurance and it outlines the responsibilities of both employers and employees. It also provides the employer's full legal name, address, and Federal Identification Number, and the name of the insurance company providing this insurance. This information is needed when filling out a claim form.
You should report any accident to your employer immediately. A delay in reporting may affect your claim.
If you believe you have suffered a compensable injury, you may file a claim with the Workers' Compensation Commission by filling out an Employee Claim form and then mailing it to the Commission. If your employer does not have any of these claim forms the Commission will send you one and all the necessary information you may need. Forms are provided without charge. (Click here for the Employee's Claim Form)
Employers often provide a doctor for their employees, especially for initial treatment. You may choose to go to your own doctor if you wish.
Your employer or your employer's insurer will pay for your doctor's visits and treatment if the injury is covered under workers' compensation.
All doctor bills, hospital bills, physical therapy, prescriptions, and necessary expenses related to the accidental injury are covered by this insurance up to the limits established by the Guide of Medical and Surgical Fees.
You are entitled to income replacement benefits if you miss more than three (3) days from work. If you miss more than 14 days, you will also be paid for the first three days, provided your employer did not pay you for any of these days. When your claim is received by the Commission in the mail, a claim number is assigned to it and a "consideration date" is given to the claim. The consideration date means that we allow your employer or his insurer until that date to raise any objections they may have to your claim.
The employer or insurance carrier will probably contact you directly and tell you what the objections are. They must also inform the Commission, stating their objections or issues in writing. If your claim is contested by the employer/insurer, it will be scheduled for a hearing before a Commissioner. You will be notified by mail.
These benefits are called "temporary total disability payments" and you should receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but not more than the State's average weekly wage for the year in which the accident occurred.
You will receive temporary total disability payments so long as you are unable to work because of the accidental injury, or until you reach maximum medical improvement.
If you are not capable of returning to your job or some other comparable job for which you are qualified, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation and training. Call the Workers' Compensation Commission for more information.
You will receive weekly benefits for a specific period of time based on the type and extent of your permanent disability. Benefits for workers who have been totally and permanently disabled may continue indefinitely. Medical evaluations are usually required to establish the nature and extent of any permanent disability.
If you do not receive any benefits from your employer or his insurer, or are not receiving the benefits to which you believe you are entitled, you may request a hearing before the Workers' Compensation Commission. Your case will be decided by a Commissioner who, like a judge, listens to both sides of the case and determines what benefits, if any, you should receive. The Commissioner's decision will be based on the law and facts involved in your particular case. Any party disagreeing with a decision of the Commission may file an appeal with the Circuit Court.
You may have an attorney of your choice to represent you, or you may represent yourself. The Commission itself does not represent you nor can any Commissioner be your attorney.
Do not pay money to anyone to assist you with your claim. If you hire a lawyer, the Commission will fix his or her fee. If an award is made to you, the fee will be deducted from your award and paid separately by the employer or insurance company to the attorney.