Workers’ Compensation: How Does it Work for Employees?
Even though all employees should be eligible to claim workers’ compensation when they need it, many people are unaware of what it is or how the system works. As a result, people often panic when they’re affected by a work-related accident or disease diagnosis.
If you’ve been injured in the course of your duties or an illness has been caused or exacerbated by your work, compensation can help you to cope with the financial impact. When you’re unable to work due to a work-related illness or injury, for example, lost wages benefits in the form of workers’ comp can ensure that you still have an income.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Employers are required to take out workers’ comp insurance so that employees have access to financial recompense in the event of a workplace accident or illness. Although you need to be classified as an employee, rather than a casual worker, to be eligible, every employee should be able to rely on the workers’ comp scheme when they need to.
What Injuries and Illnesses are Covered?
The Workers’ Compensation Act doesn’t state that only specific illnesses or injuries can be covered by workers’ comp, but you will need to show that the harm you sustained was caused or exacerbated due to your work. In addition to this, you may need to present medical evidence, such as a copy of your medical records, to confirm the injury or illness you experienced and its severity.
How Do You Claim Workers’ Comp?
Following a workplace injury or the diagnosis of an occupation illness, you can make a claim directly to the state. However, the claims procedure can be difficult to navigate, which is why it’s often best to seek legal advice first. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can act on your behalf and complete the relevant documentation, for example.
Then, your employer can either agree to the claim or dispute it. If a claim is agreed, it will then be processed and you will begin receiving workers’ comp benefits, providing you’ve met the relevant eligibility criteria. If your employer disputes your claim, you’ll have the opportunity to have your claim decided by a Workers’ Compensation Judge at the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication.
If your claim is unsuccessful at this stage, you also have the right to appeal the decision to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, at which point the decision can be overturned.
Is It Easy to Obtain Workers Comp?
In theory, claiming workers’ compensation should be relatively straightforward. In reality, it rarely is. From confirming you’re an employee or linking your injuries or illness to your work, to providing evidence relating to your medical bills or meeting the relevant deadlines, there are many ways that a claim can fail.
By getting legal advice prior to making a claim, however, you can increase your chances of successfully obtaining workers’ compensation. Furthermore, you’ll find the claims process much easier when you have a workers’ comp attorney handling your claim for you!