Employees that experience workplace injuries or illnesses may qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ Compensation generally provides for medical care, prescription medications, and equipment that is needed for treatment, and beneficiaries can choose their physicians if they inform their employer within 30 days of the initial treatment.
Eligibility and Ineligibility
Most Delaware workers are covered by Workers’ Compensation, since all employers in the state are required to carry it. If the injury occurred during employment, an employee may be eligible. This includes instances in which an employee is at the workplace or completing job-related tasks, such as traveling to a sales meeting. An occupational disease that develops over time may also be covered. However, certain government employees, household workers, independent contractors, and farm workers are not covered.
To receive benefits, employees must to notify employers within 90 days of the accident. Those with work-related occupational diseases have six months to contact their employers once they learn about their disease. Employees are also required to file Workers’ Compensation claims by filing petitions with the Office of Workers’ Compensation. For most injuries, the limit for filing is two years; for occupational diseases, the time limit for filing is one year, with one exception: If both employee and employer sign a written agreement regarding the amount of benefits, this satisfies any time limits.
Different Types of Benefits
There are several categories of benefits, and which one you receive depends on the type of injury or illness sustained:
- Temporary disability benefits apply to injuries and illnesses that are temporary.
- Permanent total disability benefits apply to workers that are completely disabled and cannot work.
- Permanent partial disability benefits are for workers that are disabled but can earn wages in some capacity.
The amount and length of time for benefits received vary depending on the situation, with a schedule of injuries shown in the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Act. Injuries not shown here may qualify for benefits based on the difference of pre-injury wages compared to post-injury wages.
Choosing to Take a Settlement
Some employees that are awarded weekly disability payments may pursue the alternative of a lump sum payment, which buys out the Workers’ Compensation benefits. This option is often chosen by those on permanent disability, and they can end up receiving all benefits up front. This process starts with filing a petition and scheduling a pretrial hearing with the Office of Workers’ Compensation. The employee should be prepared with medical witnesses and any other witnesses who can substantiate the claim.
A second, formal hearing may be scheduled, and it might be heard by a hearing officer or by the Industrial Accident Board. It is possible to be approved for the lump sum payment at this stage. Injured employees should be aware that these payments can cause a loss of benefits in the future. If the injury leads to additional medical complications down the line, the employee may not be able to receive future benefits.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Guide Injured Workers Through the Workers’ Compensation Process
Navigating through a complex Workers’ Compensation case can prove difficult, and we are here to help. Contact the trusted Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC for a free consultation today. Call us at 302-888-1221 or contact us online. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.