The Basics Of Filing A Workers Compensation Claim

Putting together a workers compensation claim can leave you wondering how the system works exactly. For some perspective, it's worth looking at basics of the system the way a workers compensation attorney would see it.

What You Can and Can't Claim

The workers compensation insurance system in the U.S. is designed to, whenever possible, minimize lawsuits brought by workers against their employers. While comp claims tend to have a lot in common with personal injury cases, folks filing through the system can only get money to cover specific things. These include a limited amount of wage replacement for time off, loss of future earnings, reimbursement of medical expenses, and benefits paid to surviving family members of workers who were killed.

Folks cannot seek compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages, or damages related to the employer's negligence. Some states may have exceptions to the negligence rules, especially in extreme cases.

Commons Reasons for Claims

Virtually any injury that was suffered in connection with work itself or activities on behalf of your employer may be compensable. Obviously, direct injuries are compensable, such as might happen with a construction worker who was hit by falling materials.

Similarly, repetitive injuries are also compensable as long as the injury can be tied to work. For example, a data entry specialist who suffered a wrist injury from constantly typing at a computer might have grounds for a claim.

What counts as a work-related activity is generally larger than some folks realize. Many off-the-clock actions count.

If your manager asked you to get them coffee while you were on your break, you may have a claim. Similarly, an injury that occurred at a company cookout, especially if it was mandatory or seen as required for networking reasons, stands a good chance.

Getting a Case Moving

The first thing to do is to inform a supervisor, manager, or HR department person about your injuries as soon as they are known. You should do this even if you're not 100% certain you intend to file a claim. The company may ask you to be examined by a doctor of their choosing, too.

If you elect to advance a claim, you will need to submit formal paperwork with your employer. They will pass this along to their insurance carrier, and the carrier will decide whether to accept or reject the claim. If it's rejected, you still have the right to appeal to a workers compensation board. For more information, contact a workers compensation attorney.