Worker's compensation know your rights


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Worker's compensation know your rights

  1. 1. Workers Compensation, sometimes referred to as"Workmans Compensation" or "WorkersComp", is the name given to a system of lawsmeant to protect injured workers. The goal is tomake sure that somebody who is injured at workreceives appropriate medical care, lost wagesrelating to the on-the-job injury, and, ifnecessary, retraining and rehabilitation, so as tobe able to return to the workforce. When workersare killed on the job, members of the workersfamilies are ordinarily eligible for benefits.Frequently, injured workers will benefit fromconsulting an attorney who can advise them inprotecting their Workers Compensation benefitsand defending against the premature terminationof benefits.By AaronLarson
  2. 2. Exclusions From CoverageDepending upon the jurisdiction, employees may be restricted fromcollecting benefits if their injuries or deaths result from willfulmisconduct or from intoxication.Special Federal StatutesThere are some special federal laws which provide additionalprotection to certain classes of worker:The Jones Act (The Merchant Marine Act) provides seamen with theability to seek benefits known as "maintenance and cure" when theyare injured as a result of their employers negligence while workingon U.S.-flagged vessels.The Federal Employment Liability Act (FELA) makes railroadsengaged in interstate commerce liable to employees, where theemployees injuries result from the railroads negligence.The Long shore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)provides Workers Compensation benefits to certain classes ofemployees of private maritime employers.The Black Lung Benefits Act provides compensation to minerssuffering from "black lung" disease (pneumoconiosis).
  3. 3. Workers Compensation LitigationWhile most injured workers recover quickly, and beyond making theinitial injury report to qualify for benefits have no real awareness of theWorkers Compensation system, those more seriously injured may havedifficulty with their employer or with the compensation system. Thoseworkers may benefit from consulting with lawyers. WorkersCompensation litigation is generally considered to be simpler thantraditional injury litigation, as it takes place in an administrative settingand may involve relaxed evidentiary rules. Attorney fees are ordinarilylimited by statute.Workers typically need to hire a workers comp lawyer when they arerefused benefits to which they are entitled, are told that they can returnto work before they are actually medically able, or are denied extendedor permanent disability despite significant disabling injury. If youremployer sends you to a doctor who declares that you are able to returnto work even though you dont believe you are yet able, or tries to get youto return to work to a special job created to accommodate yourinjury, you should consider speaking to a comp lawyer right away.
  4. 4. The reason is this: while a typical injured employee does notknow the law, a typical employer is very much aware of howthe compensation system works, and how to terminate anemployees benefits. An injured worker who returns to work ina specially created position may well find that, two weekslater, the position is eliminated and he is laid off - but is nolonger eligible for workers comp. Similarly, many employersutilize doctors who are much more interested in maintaining agood continuing relationship with the employer than withaccurately diagnosing the employee - too many declarationsof continuing disability will likely cause the employer to sendinjured employees to a different doctor. A lawyer can help youprotect your rights when one of these "hired gun" doctorstries to block you from getting necessary treatment, cut offyour benefits or send you back to work too early.
  5. 5. It is beneficial to go to a lawyer who handles a lot of WorkersCompensation cases. Typically, those lawyers will know theadministrative judges or hearing officers who preside over comphearings, and may also know the doctors and defense lawyers whoare trying to block your claim. Using an attorney who knows the insand outs of the system can help ensure that you collect thebenefits that are due or, if you are so inclined, get a maximum pay-off to settle your compensation claim.
  6. 6. When Can You Sue?Ordinarily an employee who qualifies for WorkersCompensation benefits may not file a personal injury suitagainst the employer. There are two narrow exceptions whereWorkers Compensation preemption might not apply, and anemployer might be subject to lawsuit:When an employer intentionally causes injury to an employee.When an employer is required to carry Workers Compensationcoverage but fails to do so.This exception for intentional acts is very narrow. It is notordinarily enough that an employer creates conditions wherethere is a very high probability that an employee will be injured.Ordinarily the employer must have committed a specific actintended to cause injury to the employee.
  7. 7. Some of our clients have suffered these kinds of injuries dueto a serious accident. The Garcia Law Firm, P.C. was able tosuccessfully handle these types of cases. For a freeconsultation please call us at 1-866- SCAFFOLD or 212-725-1313.POSTED BY ATTORNEY RENE G. GARCIA