Some Frequently Asked Questions Posed
by Workers’ Compensation Clients
During initial interviews with new workers compensation clients, a few questions are asked repeatedly. The following answers are provided to some of those frequently asked questions.
1. Am I going to lose my job because I file a claim?
To start seven of every ten new clients ask me this question. My answer is always the same. Your employer cannot terminate you because you were injured on-the-job or because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. If you were injured because of your own negligence, you are still entitled to medical benefits, temporary disability benefits (if applicable) and a permanency award (assuming you suffered an injury considered permanent based on objective medical evidence). Your employer may have the right to terminate you if your actions violated company policy at the time you were injured, but you would still be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
2. Why should I file a Workers’ Compensation case if the insurance company is providing treatment and paying me temporary disability benefits?
The answer to this question is simple. You have a right to seek a permanency award that will enable you to recoup some of the money you have lost while you were only collecting 70% of your pay. Also you will receive payment of money, typically over a period that will supplement your income once you have returned to work. Finally, you will extend your right to seek future medical treatment because you retain the right to re-open your case in the future to seek additional medical treatment and workers’ compensation payments. If you do not file a claim, you are allowing an insurance company to keep funds that would otherwise be paid to you. Why allow an insurance company to keep money that could be used to support yourself and your family?
3. Why do I have to go to Court if I settle my case?
The Workers’ Compensation laws were written to protect injured workers. The law requires a Judge of Compensation to approve all settlements. The Judge must evaluate the terms of the settlement to be sure the settlement is fair and appropriate under the circumstances. A settlement in a Workers Compensation case is not final until the Judge of Compensation signs the settlement order.
4. If an accident is my fault why I am still entitled to receive benefits?
As noted, the Workers’ Compensation law was designed to protect injured workers. The law was also designed to require work injuries to be considered a cost of doing business. The injured worker is entitled to medical benefits, temporary disability benefits (if applicable) and permanency benefits (if applicable) as long as the injury occurred during the course of employment and arose out of scope of employment. Negligence is not a factor in determining entitlement to compensation benefits. The employer also benefits from the workers compensation law because the employers cannot be sued for injuries caused by an employer’s negligence.
If you are injured on-the-job and want to learn about your rights, please contact us. Any of our attorneys in our Workers Compensation Department will be happy to speak to you at no cost to you. There is no fee unless we obtain workers compensation benefits for you. We are here to serve you. If you are injured on-the-job protect yourself and your family by seeking legal advice.
– Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Jr.