You head into work like it’s any normal day and then the unexpected happens. You’re involved in an accident at work. You’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the U.S. Department of Labor, 2.7 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses occurred in the workplace in 2020.
Unfortunately, when an unexpected work injury occurs, there’s more for you to think about than just your recovery. Time is critical. While there are times when you don’t need legal guidance, it’s important to know the signs for when you should seek a workers’ comp lawyer to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
First things first, file a workers’ comp claim
In Wisconsin, if you are injured while on the job or you become ill as a result of your job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Immediately following an incident, notify your supervisor, even if you think the incident is minor. Delaying a report of a work injury could hinder your recovery and your access to receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Take care of yourself and seek necessary medical attention. Be sure to keep all relevant medical and payment records from any doctor appointments, emergency room bills, medication costs, etc.
Upon notifying your employer, they will document the incident and report it to their insurance carrier who will report the case to the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Division.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, if your medical doctor authorizes you to not work for more than three days, you will be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages in Wisconsin.
As your workers’ comp claim is being processed, you may expect to receive compensation within 14 days after the incident from your employer’s insurance carrier for your injury or illness.
Incidents when a workers’ comp lawyer isn’t needed
While your work injury incident can be complex, and overwhelming to understand what steps to take and information to obtain as it relates to your workers’ comp case, there are instances where legal representation isn’t necessary. Understanding these instances can help you focus on recovery and getting back to normal more quickly.
Less complex workers’ comp cases where you may not need legal representation include:
If you do not need extensive medical treatment.
If you do not suffer any disability or injury that forces you to take time off work.
If there are no permanent injuries.
If you have no preexisting conditions that affect the same part of your body that was injured.
The severity of injuries can play into the need for legal representation. Always give consideration to seeking a free consult about your case from a workers’ comp lawyer. You’ll better understand the overall process and be aware of potential difficulties you may encounter with your case.
If you experience any trouble with your employer or their insurance company as you begin to file a workers’ comp claim, even for a minor incident, you should consider hiring legal representation. Even if you have a good relationship with your employer, there is no time to waste during a workers’ comp case. If you suffer a job-related injury that prohibits you from doing your job, the attorneys at Di Renzo & Bomier are ready to listen and help you get the benefits you deserve.
Signs you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer for your work-related injury
1. Your employer is delaying your workers’ comp claim or you haven’t heard anything. During any workers’ comp case, it is critical that the workplace injury be reported to your supervisor immediately. Upon notifying your employer, they will need to report the incident to their insurance company and file a claim.
An employer who doesn’t act quickly to report the claim to the insurance company can negatively impact the case. Some employers will use this tactic of delaying a response as they don’t believe the employee (you) will follow through or appeal the claim.
2. Your employer retaliates against you filing a workers’ comp claim. Under no circumstance is an employer allowed to retaliate against an employee who is filing a valid workers’ compensation claim. If you experience any of the following retaliation efforts from your employer that impact your job, seek legal representation from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer immediately (these are big red flags): demotion, reduction in work hours, department transfer, termination, or any discrimination used against you.
3. Your workers’ comp claim is denied. Insurance companies deny claims for many reasons. In the state of Wisconsin, you can appeal the decision, however, this may add complexity to your workers’ comp case as your dispute may then be handled in a formal hearing. Having legal representation to guide you through this process may be in your best interest to ensure you get the benefits needed in your workers’ comp case.
4. Your settlement offer doesn’t cover all of your losses or medical expenses. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be eligible to receive certain workers’ comp benefits. After your workplace accident, you’ll need to be examined by a medical doctor to understand the extent of your qualifying injuries. A medical doctor will provide an impairment rating that reflects how you’ve been permanently affected by the work injury. This rating is used to factor how much compensation you may receive.
Basic workers’ comp benefits as defined by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development provides coverage of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Talking with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you better understand this process, what benefits might be available to you based on your injuries and help you get the appropriate rating for your case.
5. You have a preexisting condition. If you suffer from a preexisting condition that impacts the same part of your body that was injured in the workplace accident, you may expect the insurance company to deny the workers’ comp claim or fight back. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you provide evidence that your injuries were a result of the workplace injury.
6. Your workplace accident results in a permanent disability. In general, workers’ compensation in Wisconsin covers benefits for temporary wage loss during a healing period due to temporary partial disability or temporary total disability, or permanent partial disability or permanent total disability.
Disabilities are expensive and you may experience initial resistance from the insurance company. Medical issues resulting from your workplace injury may prevent you from returning to your job at any capacity. Seeking legal advice is critical in these circumstances. Payments for lost wages and more could be available to you but understanding which action to take may be misleading and overwhelming as you continue to recover.
7. You receive other government benefits (social security). If you currently receive, or plan to receive, social security disability benefits, your workers’ compensation benefits could be significantly reduced. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help you receive the fairest benefits all around to ensure you get the coverage needed.
Being injured on the job can be overwhelming. Consider talking to an experience workers’ compensation lawyer to help you focus on your recovery while getting the benefits you deserve.
Injured workers in Wisconsin have trusted Di Renzo & Bomier to resolve their workers’ compensation claims for nearly 70 years. No upfront payment required. Get a free consultation about your case from an experience workers’ comp lawyer at Di Renzo & Bomier. We help people injured on the job in Neenah, Appleton, Green Bay and across Northeast Wisconsin, and offer a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. Call (800) 725-8464 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.
Leave the heavy lifting to Di Renzo & Bomier in order to get your life back on track following an unexpected workplace accident.
The content of this blog was prepared by Law Offices of Di Renzo & Bomier, LLC for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Law Offices of Di Renzo & Bomier, LLC.