Today’s blog post comes from lawyer Thomas Domer, who is an advocate for injured workers through Domer Law Firm in Milwaukee, and he also teaches the workers’ compensation course at Marquette University. He writes about a talk he gave in New Orleans regarding three important tips for people making a workers’ compensation claim. These tips generally apply in Nebraska and Iowa, but workers’ compensation laws vary by state. So please speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions about specifics regarding your experiences. Have a safe, productive day.
I just returned from New Orleans where I made a presentation to about 150 workers’ compensation lawyers (both for workers and for employers) on “Case and Client Evaluation In Workers’ Compensation”.
Since many in the audience represented insurance companies and employers, I paid particular attention to their response to my presentation. As one would expect, their best chance to win a case on behalf of the employer and insurance carrier occurs when several items come into play:
When there is no actual report of the injury. [Worker’s Tip: No matter how small the work injury, make sure it is reported in some fashion – cell phone, voice recording, or Accident Report and the worker keeps a copy (BEST).]
Failure to report that a work injury occurred to the first treating practitioner (whether Emergency Room, employer-directed medical facility, hospital, or primary care physician). The single most difficult hurdle in a workers’ compensation claim involving a traumatic injury occurs when no report of the injury is found in the initial medical record.
In “Occupational Exposure” cases, no discussion with the doctor about work duties or prior incidents. (In Wisconsin, a worker can recover for workers’ compensation in one of two ways:
A traumatic injury where a single incident has caused the disability (lifting a box, falling, etc.)
Occupational Exposure, where the wear and tear of a worker’s job causes the disability over time. In this latter category, workers routinely do not indicate with any kind of specificity the type of work they perform when they see the doctor.
These three tips can help us as workers’ compensation lawyers win claims, more so than any “Clarence Darrow” court room techniques or strategies.
Here’s the second blog post in a series on the basics of workers’ compensation.
As its name suggests, workers’ compensation compensates employees for on-the-job injuries. About 95 percent of time, the question of whether an injured worker is an employee is a simple “yes.” If you are paid a regular salary or by the hour via a regularly scheduled paycheck where your employer takes deductions out for Social Security, unemployment, Medicare, etc., you are most likely an employee.
But sometimes the issue of whether you are an employee isn’t as simple. Some states may exclude household and farm workers. Some states may exclude employees performing work for the business outside of the regular course of business hours. An employer might try to exclude an employee from workers’ compensation benefits by alleging the employee is an independent contractor.
If you are hurt on the job and your employer or their insurance company is claiming that you aren’t covered by workers’ compensation, you need to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Laws about which employees are covered by workers’ compensation are very specific and vary by state. You need an attorney who can tell you whether you are in fact covered by workers’ compensation, and, if not, what other possible ways there would be to compensate you for your injuries.
This is the first installment of a series that will educate workers and their families about injury, disease and death resulting from work. The most basic question is: What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a legal system established in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and for federal employees. Workers’ compensation laws began in the United States in 1912. The laws are different in each state, but the basics of the law are quite similar in all states.
If a worker is injured, contracts a disease or dies as a result of work activities, all of the medical and burial expenses are to be paid by the employer. The employer is also responsible to pay for lost wages, physical disability, and mental disability. Workers’ compensation does not pay for pain and suffering and is generally limited in duration of payments, although some states pay lifetime benefits.
The balance of this series will go through the basic steps of how to obtain workers’ compensation benefit. The goal is to inform, which helps victims of workplace injury, disease or death receive proper compensation.