If you get hurt while performing your normal job duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp is an insurance program that covers medical bills and lost wages for injured employees (or those who have developed occupational diseases). However, just because these benefits are available doesn’t mean securing them is easy. As long as you get started on the right foot, though, it can streamline the proceedings considerably. Here’s what you should know about commencing your workers’ comp claim.
Confirm Your Eligibility
Applying for benefits is a tedious process. As such, it’s wise to confirm your eligibility before getting started. For example, if you’re technically classified as an independent contractor, you’re not entitled to workers’ compensation. Only official employees are covered, and they’re only covered if their employers actually have insurance. While most companies are obligated to purchase a policy, there are some exceptions.
Additionally, you must not have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the incident occurred. Employees who drive while intoxicated and end up crashing the company vehicle are unlikely to qualify for benefits. While fault does not usually affect eligibility, gross negligence can.
You must also be able to prove that your condition was a direct result of your job duties. Finally, you must not have let any critical filing or notification deadlines pass, which you can read about below.
Notify Your Employer
In the state of Wisconsin, injured employees must usually notify their employer of any relevant injuries within 30 days; however, they typically have two years to file the actual claim. If you miss one of these deadlines, the proceedings will end before they even start—unless an exception applies. For example, there is no deadline for claims involving occupational diseases or certain catastrophic injuries.
After being notified, your employer is responsible for corresponding with the insurer, but it’s still wise to seek legal counsel. Your employer could be uncooperative, but an attorney will advocate for you at every stage of the proceedings. A lawyer will also help you gather evidence of the incident and negotiate for a fair payout.
Whether you were hurt on the job or recently diagnosed with an occupational disease, turn to Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC for guidance. Based in La Crosse and serving all of Western Wisconsin, we’ve recovered more than $90 million on behalf of our valued clients. Founded in 1982, our lawyers specialize in helping injured, ill, and disabled parties. To schedule your free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney on our team, call (877) 784-1230 or reach out on our website.