Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program that almost every employer is required to carry. The program covers medical expenses and some lost wages for employees who get injured at work. There is a cap to the amount you will receive, and employees are not entitled to sue their employer for further compensation. If an employee is injured, the insurance payout is made without regard to whether the employee or employer may have caused the injury.
Workers’ Compensation is more-or-less an agreement to balance the need of workers to get prompt medical care, with the need of employers to conduct their business, without worrying about getting sued by an injured employee.
What should you do if you get injured at work?
- Immediately notify your employer in writing of the injury (or occupational disease) and request medical services.
- Tell your employer, directly or through a supervisor, that you are claiming Workers’ Compensation for the reported event.
- If the employer denies the claim, or if there is any dispute as to what is owed, you would need to contact your state’s Workers’ Compensation office to request they resolve the issue. Such disputes must be raised within a limited period of time, usually within two years after the injury or occupational disease was first reported.
You will need to document all necessary medical, surgical, and hospital treatments from the date of the accident and onwards. Your employer will need to file a report with your state’s Workers’ Compensation office, as well as the insurance carrier.
What should you do if your employer does not have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
If your employer does not carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, it is most likely in violation of the law. You will not be able to get Workers’ Compensation in this case. However, you do have one or more options to cover medical costs and lost wages.
Some states have an Uninsured Employers’ Fund, which is a program where special funds are reserved to provide coverage for uninsured, injured workers. Your state’s Workers’ Compensation office should be able to give you specific information on whether there is such a fund, and if so, how to request payment.
These funds will usually cover the cost of your medical bills, and potentially payments for some lost wages. In addition, some states have temporary disability insurance programs that may provide you with short-term benefits while you are unable to work.
If your employer’s negligence caused the injury or illness, then rather than request payment from a fund, you can pursue a civil case for personal injury. Unlike Workers’ Compensation, in order to be awarded damages, you need to prove negligence (fault) on the part of the employer caused the injury. If you are able to satisfy this requirement, then civil remedies can cover not only your medical expenses, but other damages such as for “pain and suffering” if the injury is severe and/or disfiguring; or “punitive” damages if misconduct by your employer caused the injury.
Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Injured Workers
If you have been injured at work, be sure to report it to your employer right away. If you are not covered by Workers’ Compensation you may still be able to recover damages depending on the circumstances. Contact a Delaware workplace injury lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. We will review your case at no charge to you and fight to make sure your claim is successful. Call 302-888-1221 today or complete our online contact form. From our offices in Wilmington and Philadelphia we represent injured workers in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.