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Top 30 Things Employees Should Know About Being Injured at Work

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Injured at work? Here's what you need to know about workers' compensation. This slide deck will answers the biggest questions people have about workplace injuries, such as: Can I be fired after getting injured at work? Can I change jobs while on workers' comp? Does my employer have to hold my job while on workers' comp? Can I collect unemployment while on workers' compensation? Is workers' comp and disability the same thing? Can I sue an IME doctor?

If you have been injured on the job and have any concerns about applying for workers’ compensation or if you have been fired or laid off, contact our legal team at KBG Injury Law.

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Top 30 Things Employees Should Know About Being Injured at Work

  1. 1. Top 30 Things Employees Should Know About Being Injured at Work
  2. 2. What Is Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation is insurance that employers are required to have in case an employee suffers an injury while on the job.
  3. 3. Why Does Workers’ Compensation Exist? Before workers’ compensation laws were developed and implemented, injured workers had to rely on time-consuming and costly lawsuits in order to get the help they needed. Workers’ compensation laws were developed to limit the suffering endured by injured workers and to help them to receive compensation quickly.
  4. 4. Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation? You must be considered an employee to qualify for workers’ compensation. Even if you don’t work full-time, if you lack control over some aspects of your employment, such as your hours, you can still qualify as an employee. Additionally, if you do not advertise your services outside of your workplace and do not have any other clients, you may also be considered an employee.
  5. 5. Who Does Not Qualify for Workers’ Compensation? Freelancers, contractors and volunteers are examples of positions that usually do not qualify as “employees” even though they work with a company, although this is not always the case. Other examples of jobs that may not qualify for workers’ compensation include seasonal workers, part-time workers, farm workers, taxi drivers and ministers.
  6. 6. What Should I Do If I’m Injured on the Job? If you are injured on the job, it is important that you take action immediately. Report your injury to your manager right away and take the steps necessary to file a workers’ compensation claim.
  7. 7. Can I Opt to Sue if I’m Injured at Work? Workers are generally barred from suing their employers for workplace injuries, although there are a few exceptions. You can file a lawsuit if your employer deliberately hurt you or if your employer has inadequate or no workers’ compensation insurance. Generally, filing a workers’ compensation claim is going to be the preferable choice since it cuts out the unpredictability of a lawsuit and allows workers to begin receiving financial compensation for their
  8. 8. How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim? Report the injury to your supervisor immediately and ask someone at work to contact emergency medical services if your injury is serious. Start the documentation process right away and take note of everything, including when the injury occurred and your symptoms. If possible, take pictures with your smartphone for accurate records. Request to see a doctor. You may also wish to contact legal counsel early on in the process. Formally report the injury and ask for and complete a
  9. 9. What Injuries Are Often Overlooked? Workers often overlook smaller scale work-related injuries like hearing loss, lung problems, hand injuries and back pain. Any injuries caused in part or in whole by your working conditions may qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits. If you think your work atmosphere could be directly causing a physical problem that you are experiencing, it is advised that you contact a workers’ compensation lawyer.
  10. 10. What Are the Common Mistakes That Injured Employees Make? Workers often wait until the pain becomes unbearable before they report. Delayed reporting creates problems in getting benefits started. Many injured workers also do not know the particulars of the different kinds of benefits they may be entitled to. Contacting legal counsel is one of the best first steps you can take if you are injured at work.
  11. 11. What’s the Difference Between Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to help you through the process of recovering from a work injury. You will only receive checks during the period your doctor says you are unable to work. You may qualify for unemployment if you are able to return to work but your employer has had to replace you and cannot offer a suitable alternative position for you in your post-injury state.
  12. 12. Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment? You cannot generally collect unemployment while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, you may qualify for unemployment benefits in the case that your employer has no position available for you after you have been out on workers’ compensation.
  13. 13. What’s the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Disability? Workers’ compensation is provided through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. State disability benefits are provided through the state government if you are injured away from work but cannot work at your normal job as a result of that injury.
  14. 14. Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation and Disability? Workers’ compensation benefits are applicable unless your condition becomes permanent. You may even be entitled to permanent disability benefits after your workers’ compensation benefits end. State disability can also step in if your employer is disputing whether or not you should receive workers’ compensation, and will compensate you until the dispute is resolved. You will have to pay that money back if your workers’ compensation case is
  15. 15. Does Workers’ Compensation or Disability Pay More? Injured workers generally stand to gain more from workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits are tax-free, whereas income tax is applicable with disability and unemployment benefits. Workers’ compensation pays for all medical expenses from a work-related injury, with no limitation or deductible. They also tend to last much longer than other benefits.
  16. 16. What Is a Lump Sum Settlement in Workers’ Compensation Cases? If you are receiving workers’ compensation, you may also be entitled to a lump sum settlement from the insurance company. Lump sum settlements take into account the involvement of benefits and insurance programs such as Social Security disability, retirement benefits, Medicare and Medicaid benefits and Public Assistance in your case. An attorney will often be able to obtain a larger lump sum for you, so it is a good idea to contact legal
  17. 17. Can I Be Fired After Getting Injured on the Job? An employer cannot discriminate against an employee as a direct result of their being injured. However, if you cannot return to your position or business demands that the position be filled, it is possible that your employer can replace you while you’re on workers’ compensation.
  18. 18. Does My Employer Have to Hold My Job While I’m on Workers’ Comp? An employer does not have to hold your position for you after you have been injured unless an employment contract or union is involved. However, an employer cannot discriminate against you based solely on the fact that you were injured, as this qualifies as retaliation. If you think this is the case, you should contact legal counsel.
  19. 19. Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation If I’m Fired? If you are fired while recovering from an injury, the workers’ compensation insurance company does have to continue compensating you for wage loss and medical benefits. It is important that you do not voluntarily quit or accept a voluntary lay-off, as this will affect your ability to collect wage loss benefits.
  20. 20. Can I Collect Unemployment If I’m Fired While on Workers’ Comp? Normally, you cannot receive both benefits at the same time, and your workers’ compensation will continue even if you’re fired, so long as you are still recovering. However, if your doctor deems you unable to return to work, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits if your employer cannot offer you a position suitable to your post-injury capabilities.
  21. 21. Laid Off vs. Fired: Does It Make a Difference for My Workers’ Comp? If your company has to lay off employees while you are out on workers’ compensation, you are not immune to being included in those layoffs, but your benefits should not change. If you are fired for not being able to return to your current position, you will still receive workers’ compensation. If you are fired because of other causes, such as a rule infraction, it is still possible that you will be able to collect workers’ compensation, but not guaranteed.
  22. 22. Can I Choose My Own Doctor After a Work Injury? Many employers send their injured workers to one specific doctor or facility. By law, your employer must comply with certain requirements in order to control the choice of what doctor you see. After 90 days of treatment with the company doctor, you may seek treatment from another doctor, but you must provide your employer with the name and address of the new doctor within five days of your first treatment.
  23. 23. How Long Can I Be on Workers’ Compensation? There are state-by-state limitations on how long you can receive workers’ compensation. These limitations generally range from 3-7 years. Beyond that, permanent disability benefits can be of help, although some states terminate weekly benefits after age 65.
  24. 24. Can I Change Jobs While on Workers’ Comp? You can change jobs while on workers’ compensation and, as long as you are still recovering, it will not affect the benefits you receive. Before accepting a new job, you should inform the workers’ compensation insurance company and complete and return any needed paperwork. If you will be earning less at your new job than the job you held when you were injured, you may also be eligible for a partial wage loss benefit.
  25. 25. Can My Doctor Send Me Back to Work If I’m Still Injured? Your doctor may send you back, despite if you still have pain, if the doctor believes you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement. If you feel that you’ve been sent back to work prematurely and are not well enough to return, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer.
  26. 26. What Should I Know About Returning to Work With Restrictions? Many times, employees who are still injured but are deemed fit to work may be sent back with restrictions. It is important that your employer honor those restrictions. Even if you have returned to work but are on restrictions, your benefits should remain the same.
  27. 27. What Should I Know About Going Back to Work After Being on Workers’ Comp? Whether you return to work with restrictions or not, you should receive a form entitled Notice of Ability to Return to Work before a doctor can suggest you return to work. When you return to work, your employer or insurance company may ask you to sign papers to receive your final check and close out your case. It is important that you do not sign any documents without a workers’ compensation present to review those documents and inform you of your rights.
  28. 28. When Will My Workers’ Compensation Benefits End? A return to work will generally mean an end to workers’ compensation benefits. If you are experiencing a wage loss due to your injury, you may be able to receive wage loss benefits.
  29. 29. What Is an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE)? An IRE is a medical examination that the insurance company requests in order to determine your total body impairment. Depending on the results of the IRE, the period of time that you can continue receiving weekly wage loss benefits may be limited. Generally, the insurance company cannot request your attendance at an IRE more than twice a year. You should not attend an IRE unless you first discuss it with a workers’ comp lawyer.
  30. 30. What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)? An IME is an examination by a doctor who is chosen by the insurance company to provide them with opinions regarding the cause of your injury, the nature of your disability and your future treatment. An IME is not fully independent and you do not have to accept treatment from this doctor. The insurance company also cannot generally request your attendance at an IME more than twice a year. You should speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer before attending an IME.
  31. 31. Can I Sue an IME Doctor? The short answer is “yes,” but you have options here. If you believe your IME doctor reported in bad faith, you should seek legal counsel to discuss your options. A workers’ comp lawyer may advise you to be evaluated by another doctor and, if the results differ, you can dispute the IME’s report. Because IMEs are retained by an insurance company, they are not fully independent. Therefore, you should retain legal counsel throughout the process to ensure that you are receiving the
  32. 32. Do You Need a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer? If you have been injured on the job and have any concerns about applying for workers’ compensation or if you have been fired or laid off, click this slide to schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys.

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