Workers Compensation

Workers’ Compensation (also called workers’ comp) is a system of laws that provides set benefits for injured employees, thereby eliminating the need (and the right) to litigate against employers and often co-workers. It is a no-fault system; there is no need to prove any fault on the part of the employer. It should be understood that workers’ compensation is a form of benefits, not a lawsuit against an employer. Filing a workers' compensation claim is similar to filing a claim with an insurance company. Most states require that workers’ compensation insurance be provided by every employer, though there are some exceptions (some small businesses and independent contractors, for example). Federal employees and railroad workers are governed by separate systems, FECA and FELA, respectively.

The guidelines for workers' compensation vary by state. However, injured employees are generally eligible for:

  • Compensation for medical expenses
  • Permanent partial disability
  • Temporary total disability

An administrative agency will determine whether you should receive workers’ compensation benefits. The decision will be decided by the documents in your workers’ compensation file as well as evidence put forward at your administrative hearing.  Your workers’ compensation lawyer will ensure your medical records, vocational rehabilitation reports, and other vital documents are included in your file. Typically, your medical records should contain:

  • The diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • How the injury related to your job
  • What percent of permanent disability the physician anticipates
  • Any anticipated permanent disability

It is important to give your workers’ compensation attorney all your medical information, as well as any other documents he or she requests. Make copies of all documents sent to your attorney and any paperwork from the hearing.  Educating yourself on the workers’ compensation process and working cooperatively with your workers' compensation lawyer can help you achieve a favorable result.