Workers Compensation is the oldest social insurance program in the nation. It is a no-fault system, which means that you do not have to prove whose fault your injury was in order to receive the benefits of workers compensation. In the event that you are injured on the job, your employer must provide you with prompt medical attention to include medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits or vocational rehabilitation and/or death benefits.
If you are injured at work, your employer makes the initial choice of your medical physician for your injuries. Many companies have a network of medical professionals that you have the choice between. After a 30-day period, you are able to choose your own physician. In the event that your employer does not post notice of workers compensation rights, which is required, you have the right to receive medical care from your physician of choice from the time of injury.
Injured workers who are able to return to work as quickly as possible have the best outcomes and do not suffer significant income decreases. When you go back to work is decided by your doctor, your employer and your claims administrator. If you doctor prohibits you from going back to work, you cannot be required by your employer to return to work. If you are allowed to return to work with restrictions, your employer must be willing to work with those restrictions in order for you to return to work. If you are allowed to return to work with restrictions and your employer is not willing or able to make accommodations for those restrictions, you cannot return to work.
When returning to work, if you are no longer able to perform your prior job duties due to your injuries, your employer is encouraged to give you alternative work which you are able to perform instead of giving you supplemental job displacement benefits. The alternative work must last at least 12 months and must pay at least 85% of what you were paid at the time of injury. The alternative work must also be within a reasonable commuting distance. In some cases, a position change is not necessary since the employer can make special accommodations for the injured worker to continue their job.
In some cases there are disagreements and conflicts that arise between the injured employee and the insurance company and employer. These disagreements are usually when the injury is severe and long lasting, and therefore costly to the insurance company and employer, or if the insurance company and/or the employer do not believe that you were injured at work. These situations usually do not arise, but if they do, it is necessary to find a lawyer that you can trust who specializes in workers compensation to help you receive the medical and monetary benefits of workers compensation. If you find yourself in this situation, please feel free to give us a call at the Sexton Law Firm for a free consultation. We specialize in workers compensation cases and can answer any of your questions that you may have regarding your claim.
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