Federal and state workers compensation laws are intended to help workers who have been injured on the job. In practice, however, the paperwork can be very complicated and difficult. For someone dealing with the effects of an injury and handling medical, insurance and other kinds of paperwork, it can be too much to tackle alone. Generally, workers who have a legal representative to file their claim have much more success in getting compensation and receive a larger settlement.
Occupational illness and injury
Work-related occupational injuries and illnesses are very common. In 2013 alone, over 3 million cases were reported. The most frequent type of workplace injuries are slips and falls. The great majority of workers comp cases, 85%, are due to injuries sustained by workers who slipped and fell on a slick floor in the workplace.
Some these injuries may be minor but a number are serious, and lead to injuries and loss of working days for the injured employee. Just over a fifth or 22% of all slip and fall injuries forced workers to lose more than 31 days of work. In extreme cases, workers may not be able to work at all. Workers comp is a kind of insurance, helping workers to make up for lost wages and medical costs.
Workers comp and legal representation
Workers comp is supposed to help workers handle medical costs and to compensate them for lost wages. However, it also prohibits them from suing the employer for damages in civil court for the tort of negligence. Workers comp laws thus carry a trade-off, which benefits both workers and employers. However, the filing process is complicated, and workers who have a legal representative to file for them generally receive a better settlement.
While laws vary from state to state, the compensation is intended to cover wages lost and reimbursement for medical costs. The amount of compensation depends on the nature of the injury, the number of workdays lost, etc. Workers compensation can also be paid to family members or dependents of workers killed on the job.
While workers compensation laws are intended to help those who have been injured on the job, the paperwork can be complicated and difficult. Workers who have a legal representative file their claim generally receive a better settlement than those who file on their own.