Workers compensation, a.ka. Workmans comp, is a benefit system designed to help workers who have become injured or sick due to their work conditions or environment. Unfortunately, it is also a system whose rules vary state by state and whose outcomes are often unfair to sick and injured workers. Because the system is complicated, to win a workmans comp claim, a worker should learn about the workers compensation system in their state and should certainly consider getting a workers compensation attorney or lawyer to handle a claim.
A worker who becomes sick or injured as a result of their working environment and is approved for workmans comp benefits can generally expect to receive the following:
- payment of the expenses attributable to medical care (including initial emergency care, followup treatment, and rehabilitation services);
- payment of a percentage of earnings (typically 66 % of a worker’s average weekly earnings);
- payment of a lump sum amount in the event of permanent incapacity;
- and payment of benefits in the event of death.
Mental conditions can be covered by workmans comp, but, typically, this is in the sense of a psychological or pyschiatric condition being tied to a physical condition.
For example, job related stress or tension may contribute to a heart attack. Another example might be a worker who suffers a physical injury and later develops anxiety disorder or PTSD as a result of this.
In either case, the primary condition in many cases would be the physical injury, though the worker’s mental consideration would also merit consideration.
Worker’s compensation claims can be won solely on the basis of mental or psychiatric impairments, but, generally, it must be shown that the condition was the result of an abnormal work environment.
The nice thing about the workers compensation system is that, regardless of the state in which you live, workmans comp is uniformly designed to be a no-fault system.
So, in other words, even if a job injury is caused by a work accident that is determined to have been the fault of the worker, the worker may still be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits.
The only exceptions to the no-fault workman’s comp system tend to be injuries that are self-inflicted, or are the result of a worker’s impairment due to drug or alcohol use on the job.
However, if the work-related injury is serious and the worker’s compensation claim is rejected, getting an attorney involved in the case may be the best course of action.
Also, an attorney may be helpful in the following instances:
- the workmans comp is accepted but the worker does not receive the correct amount
- the employer retaliates against the worker after the workers compensation claim is filed, either by disciplinary action or by outright firing.
- medical care is denied to the injured worker
However, since workman’s comp cases may be adversarial (as regards the employer/carrier) and since consultations with workers compensation lawyers tend to be free, it’s probably prudent for an injured worker to speak with a qualified attorney before doing anything independently.
Having a worker’s compensation attorney handle a case can often ensure that an injured worker is treated fairly and given appropriate financial consideration with regard to their injury or illness.
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