Workers compensation benefits are crucial to getting back to health and having some income (paid at 66 2/3% of gross average weekly wage) while treating doctors have you off work. Often time doctors will release injured workers back to work on a limited duty basis. This is referred to as light duty. Employers sometimes don’t have light duty positions, other times employers will say they have light duty when the work really is not light duty or some how does not meet the doctors work restrictions.
On some occasions workers doctors will recommend medical procedures or physical therapy only to have the insurance company deny it or drag their feet while the medical problems get neglected.
Litigation in this area of law occurs in front of a judge of compensations claims. These are administrative law hearings so no juries are involved. The process is supposed to be expedited, but when a worker is without medical care and or wage benefits “expedited” can seem like an eternity.
Some work related accidents can involve negligent third parties which allow for recovery of damages that are not covered by workers compensation. There is no provision for pain and suffering damages in workers compensation law, and it is these damages which can some times be recovered if a worker is injured by someone other than a co-worker. Often these situations involve a car crash where the worker is driving for work purposes. If the other driver is at fault the injured worker can get benefits from the workers compensation insurance and the automobile insurance of the other driver.
Even if you don’t decide to hire a lawyer it is a good idea to take advantage of a free consultation to see if you are getting all the available benefits. No fees are charged unless there is a recovery (also known as contingent fees).