Workers’ compensation is a right granted to nearly every worker in the U.S. Except for the smallest of businesses, it covers all industries and occupations, from minimum wage workers to billionaires.
If you or someone you care about has been injured on the job, contact a Duluth personal injury lawyer right away. Even if your employer is sympathetic to your injuries, the insurance company won’t be. You need to know your rights and how you can take full advantage of them.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
The government established workers’ compensation, also known as “workers’ compensation,” to protect people who are injured at their workplace. The federal government mandated the program for two reasons.
- To provide injured workers with medical treatment and financial support
- To avoid lawsuits, which can be both slow and costly for employers and employees
To ensure these worker protections, every employer must have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. If you are injured on the job, your employer’s insurance policy pays for your treatment instead of you or your employer.
Part of your paycheck deductions goes toward paying for workers’ compensation insurance for your employer. Thus, this right is not a handout. It’s something you are entitled to receive because you paid into the system.
This insurance coverage is for any workplace injury. It doesn’t matter if it’s chronic or disabling. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in or what your job duties are. If you get hurt while doing your job, you’re covered by workers’ compensation.
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How Much Money Can I Recover in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation should cover ALL of the costs of your injury, but the exact amount you may receive will depend on your individual situation. Your benefits might include:
- Medical expenses
- The cost of medications prescribed by a doctor
- Vocational training, so you can return to work
- Reimbursement for the cost of driving to medical appointments
- A paycheck during the time you are out of work. The check will usually be smaller than your normal paycheck, but it is not taxed.
Additional money is available if your injury was severe or it leads to a long-term disability. If you are a close family member of a worker who lost his or her life on the job, you are eligible for other benefits.
You may also be able to get non-economic damages as well for things like pain and suffering. If you’ve lost a loved one, you could get money for something called loss of consortium. Your Duluth workers’ compensation attorney can explain the possibilities for your case.
Of course, money can’t replace a loved one or restore your health, but we have found that it can go a long way toward easing stress for injured workers and their families.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Duluth?
If you’ve been hurt, you’re covered. Workers’ compensation applies to ANY injury that occurs at your workplace.
- It doesn’t matter who or what caused the injury.
- It doesn’t matter how the injury happened.
- It doesn’t matter if the injury was directly related to your job duties. Slipping on the break room floor is covered just the same as being injured while operating a machine.
- You also do not have to blame your employer or argue about who is at fault.
We see frequent workers’ compensation claims among construction workers. These injuries include falls, injuries from being hit by debris or equipment, equipment-related injuries, and electrical shocks.
However, you don’t have to work in a dangerous environment to have a workers’ compensation claim. We handle claims from all kinds of industries, from office workers to restaurant staff. Repetitive stress injuries are a common workers’ compensation complaint among office workers and those are covered just as much as maimings from factory equipment.
What Injuries Are NOT Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Duluth?
The key feature of workers’ compensation is that it covers workplace injuries. So if your injury did not happen at your place of employment, it usually is not covered. The law recognizes, however, that you can be working even if you are not at your usual job site.
There are numerous instances where you may still be covered if you are injured while off your employer’s premises. For example, you may be covered if:
- You were on a business trip
- You were driving a company vehicle
- You were running an errand for your employer
- You were attending an off-site work meeting
- You were working remotely
Your injuries will, however, usually NOT be covered if they happen while you are commuting to or from work. Once you have arrived at your job, you may be covered if you are injured on your employer’s parking lot or sidewalk.
Will Workers’ Compensation Pay for Mental Health Treatment?
Yes, in some cases. The general rule is that workers’ compensation will only cover mental or psychological conditions if there is also a physical injury. For example, if you are burned in an explosion and also suffer emotional trauma, your psychological treatment will probably be covered.
If you have trauma from witnessing an explosion that injured other people, workers’ compensation will typically not cover your emotional injuries. The best way to find out if you qualify for workers’ compensation is to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Duluth and share your story.
Will the Insurance Company Fight Me?
Despite the broad coverage of the workers’ compensation system, insurance companies don’t like to pay out claims. They are for-profit companies, so they will try to settle your claim for as little as possible.
To do this, they may try to minimize your injuries, dispute how you were hurt, or even send you to a doctor who won’t give you an accurate diagnosis. These tactics leave workers without their legally guaranteed benefits.
This is the biggest reason to hire a Duluth workers’ compensation lawyer when you make your claim or file an appeal. It’s in your best interest and even in the interest of your employer. If your compensation isn’t enough to make you whole, you can’t give your best at work.
Will I Have to Sue My Employer?
No. One of the purposes of workers’ compensation is to avoid lawsuits between employees and their employers. In the City of Duluth, you cannot sue your employer for a workplace injury. This protects workers in several ways:
- Lawsuits can drag on for months or even years, and you need compensation more quickly than that.
- It is hard to predict how a lawsuit will turn out, and you should not have to live with the stress and uncertainty.
- Workers’ compensation avoids confrontation with your employer because workers’ compensation claims are handled by an insurance company.
Many of the injured workers we talk to are afraid to make a claim against their employer. They worry that their employer will be upset with them, and may even take action against them. But we have found that most employers are happy that there is a way to help their employees pay for good treatment and get back on their feet.
It’s the insurance companies that drag their feet and don’t want to pay the claim. To get the money you deserve, it’s important to have a good workers’ compensation attorney in Duluth on your case.
How do I Start My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Employers are required to post information about how to start workers’ compensation claims in their place of business. You’ll usually find it on the labor poster in the breakroom or by the time clock.
On it, you’ll find the insurer and the doctors they require you to see for treatment. You’ll also see the bill of rights for workers’ compensation. This has the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees for making claims.
One important thing to do is to notify your employer when an injury happens. You have 30 days from the injury to let them know. That’s the first part of the process. Once you’ve done that, speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer for further advice.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Duluth for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we have a 20-year history of helping injured workers recover money in workers’ compensation claims. We know how to get insurance companies to pay, and we’d like to show you what we can do for you.
If you were injured on the job, you are entitled to recover money to pay for your loss. We know how to get you the money you need, and we’ll give you a free consultation to explain what we can do for you. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.