Workers' Compensation - Top Ten Pointers

  1. Safety - Always put safety first. Benefits are minimal to start and can be cut for safety violations.

  2. Medical Care - Workers have a right to choose a medical specialist from a list, as well as the right to a second opinion. Be sure to find a qualified specialist who has helped others with problems similar to your own.

  3. Notice/Statute of Limitations - An injury must be reported within 30 days. Furthermore, a claim for benefits must be filed within two years of the date of injury, or one year from the last date of benefits, or your benefits may be permanently terminated. NEVER LET THE STATUTE EXPIRE.

  4. Recorded Statements/Managed Care Nurses - No one is required to give a recorded statement or to have a Managed Care Nurse at a doctor's appointment.

  5. Repetitive Trauma Injuries - Repetitive Trauma Injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, hearing loss, respiratoy conditions and low back injuries can be compensable if properly pursued.

  6. Average Weekly Wage - The average weekly wage is supposed to reflect average gross income, overtime, income from second jobs, and the cost of health insurance. The Average Weekly Wage is what determines the amount of weekly and overall cash that is paid out.

  7. Enhanced Union Benefits - Some union contracts entitle a worker to enhanced benefits such as payment of the first seven days of lost wages and payment at 80% of wages during part-time, light duty work. A worker in a union should their union to discuss any enhanced benefits that might be provided.

  8. Retaliation and Intimidation - It is not legal for an employer to harass, intimidate, or fire an employee for reporting a work injury or for pursuing appropriate benefits.

  9. State Supervision - If your adjuster reportedly delays benefits or misleads you about benefits, you have the right to retain an attorney. You may also report the adjuster to the state for investigation.

  10. Other Issues - An injured worker may also be able to pursue personal injury claims, uninsured motorist claims, FMLA claims, ERISA claims, and right under the Americans with Disabilities Act.