Posted on: 11 December 2014Share
Let's face it: Workers compensation is a tangled web of state-specific rules and regulations, and if you're seriously considering filing a claim, you'll want to speak with an experienced attorney before moving forward. But in the meantime, it doesn't hurt to learn the basics. Understanding the common misconceptions about the law below – all the usual suspects attorneys hear from first-time clients – can help you get the most out of your initial consultation.
Workers Compensation Is Just a Fancy Word for Suing My Employer
Because they cover much of the same ground – establishing a burden of proof, negotiating settlements, and so on – it's easy to confuse workers comp claims with traditional court cases. In practice, workers compensation is really just a complex state-regulated insurance program designed to protect employees from debilitating injuries and their consequential expenses.
No one is technically at fault in most workers comp cases, unlike personal injury lawsuits, where you can sue the person who caused you direct harm. For example, if you injure your back while working as an electrician, you can file for workers compensation, but you can't sue your employer unless he or she is directly responsible for your accident.
Employees Who File for Workers Comp Can't Be Fired
Because firing an employee who speaks up sounds like something a vengeful boss might want to do, it's natural to assume that the law will protect your job until both sides settle. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. While employers can't fire employees specifically because they file for workers compensation, they can do so for any other reason at any time. However, don't let that stop you from fighting for the compensation you deserve. Most employers understand the need for workers comp, and if at any point you feel discriminated against because of your case, you can contact a lawyer for help.
Employees with Approved Claims Get Complete Coverage for All Injury-Related Issues
From medical bills to ongoing disability payments, workers comp can cover a wide range of losses, but it does have limits. Although what you receive depends on your case and local law, typically the employee cannot be compensated for pain and suffering or mental stress. If you feel like you've been through an emotionally traumatic experience as a result of your employer's reckless actions, you may want to explore bypassing workers compensation and bringing your case to court instead.
While the above facts are great starting points for learning more about workers compensation, remember that each claim is unique. For a complete picture of your case, don't wait until your second meeting to get detailed information. Your workers compensation attorney will be happy to review your evidence file and address your concerns at the first consultation appointment, so be sure to come prepared with paperwork and a written list of questions. For more information, contact Mooney and Associates LLC or a similar firm.