Worker’s compensation is a safety net that’s in place to help injured employees. If this happens to you, you’ll be happy to know that this system is there, since you’ll likely have medical bills to pay. You’ll also need that money to make up your income while you recover.
There are some fundamental things that you should know about worker’s comp, so let’s talk about a few of them right now.
You Have a Limited Time to File
The first thing to know is that you have a limited amount of time if you want to file for worker’s comp following an accident. The law says that you need to tell your employer that the injury occurred within 120 days. What some people do, though, is:
- Wait to see if their pain will go away on its own
- Decide that they don’t want to bother their employer for fear they’ll lose their job
If you’re hurt while at work, you should never wait to tell your employer about it. You want what happened to be on the record.
You should be eligible for worker’s comp. The one possible exception is if you injured yourself due to negligence. For instance, if you come to work intoxicated and fall off a ladder, you’ll find it harder to collect workers’ compensation.
Can My Employer Fire Me When I File?
Filing for worker’s comp is something that all employees should be able to do without fear. Maybe you feel like you have a vindictive boss who will try to penalize you if you decide to get worker’s comp. However, doing so:
- Is illegal
- Entitles you to bring a separate lawsuit against your employer
Most employers understand that they need to let you file for worker’s comp and that you’re within your rights to do so. If they try to fire you or scale back your hours once you recover, you can file a lawsuit against them for punitive damages and lost wages.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
When you’re out with an injury, you’ll probably have medical bills piling up. Those might be for physical therapy, hospital visits, visits to your primary doctor, or maybe to specialists.
Your employer should have a worker’s comp insurer. It is this entity that will pay for your medical bills as you’re recovering.
Do I Need Legal Representation If I’m Getting Worker’s Comp?
The law does not tell you to get a lawyer if you’re filing for worker’s comp. However, remember that your employer probably isn’t going to go out of their way to see that you get all of the benefits to which you are entitled.
You might choose to get a lawyer who can explain all your rights and tell you how to proceed. If you’re attempting to decide what to do on your own, you might find it confusing to navigate all of the deadlines, claims, and paperwork.
Can I See My Own Doctor?
This is a sticking point with many worker’s comp claims. Most people will want to see their own doctor if they sustain an injury on the job. You’ll be familiar with your doctor and have a rapport with them.
Still, some employers will try and steer you toward a company doctor. You’d like to hope that they don’t have an ulterior motive for doing that.
Unfortunately, they may want you to see that doctor so that this shady medical professional can say that your injury isn’t all that serious, and you can go back to work as soon as possible.
In most cases, you can see your own doctor. The only exception would be if you signed paperwork, explicitly saying that you’re okay with seeing the company doctor. If your employer tries to pressure you to sign this sort of paperwork, you should immediately feel suspicious.
Are There Any Deductibles or Copays for My Medical Bills?
With worker’s comp, if you’re eligible, then there should be no copays or deductibles. Worker’s comp benefits cover all of your medical bills.
If your company tries to deny or ignore some of your bills, you’ll probably need a lawyer to take them to court. The law does not tell you to get a Workers Compensation Lawyers Massachusetts if you’re filing for worker’s comp.
Ideally, your employer will conduct themselves in the right way if you injure yourself. They won’t drag their feet in paying your bills, and they’ll let you see your own doctor.
Sometimes you have a business entity that’s trying to cut corners, though, and if that happens, there might be some court dates and hassles in your future.