How to Apply for Workers’ Compensation in Riverdale
The workers’ compensation program exists to provide employees who suffer work-related injuries or illness with no-cost medical care and a partial wage until they can return to their jobs. In return for these benefits, employees may not sue their employers for negligently causing their injuries.
Almost all employers in the state must provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. However, it can be difficult to navigate the system, and some Riverdale employers might not explain how to apply for the benefits. Finding the right resources and a skilled workers’ comp attorney could be critical to getting the compensation you deserve. Below are some tips to consider when applying to help you through the process.
Determining Whether an Injury is Work-Related
Many people mistakenly believe that workers’ compensation covers only those illnesses and conditions that directly result from a person’s work duties. However, the workers’ comp program covers all work-related injuries and illnesses. For instance, a fall in the parking lot, a burn suffered in the break room, or a concussion from falling boxes in a storage closet could potentially qualify.
Workers who suffer injuries while on-the-clock should assume that workers’ compensation will cover their injury and seek immediate medical treatment from one of their employer’s approved providers following an accident.
Notify Employer of Work-Related Illness or Injury
Letting an employer know of a potentially work-related illness or injury right away is always a good practice. A worker who informs an employer that they are injured or ill can get care for their condition from an employer-approved physician immediately and at no cost to the employee.
Further, an employee must notify the employer within 30 days that they have experienced a work-related injury or illness. If it was not immediately apparent that a condition was work-related, an employee must notify the employer within 30 days of discovering the connection. However, the employee should inform their supervisor or someone in a supervisory position of the injury or illness as soon as possible—telling a colleague or coworker is insufficient. The notice can be oral, but it is wise for the employee to make the notice by email or text to have a record of the date, time, and recipient of the notice.
If an employee waits even 30 days, they could lose their chance at fair compensation. Insurers might cite a delay as evidence that the workers’ condition is unrelated to their employment or deny that the worker has an injury or illness at all.
File the Workers’ Compensation Claim
Reporting the injury to the employer is not the same as making a claim. Injured employees must make a formal claim for benefits by filing a form called a WC-14. The employer might provide the employee with the form or it is available on the state’s workers’ compensation website. An employee could also file the form at a workers’ compensation office or submit it by mail.
The worker must file the form with the Workers’ Compensation Board, their employer, and the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The employer should provide the name and contact information for their insurance carrier, but the information is also available through the workers’ compensation board.
The employee has one year from the date of their injury or illness, or one year from the date they learned their condition was job-related, to file the form to avoid losing benefits.
A Qualified Attorney in Riverdale Could Help You Apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The workers’ compensation program is complicated, and employers are not always as helpful as they should be about ensuring their employees get the benefits they have earned. If you have questions about a potential workers’ compensation claim, an attorney at the firm could help.
If your employer or their insurance company treats you unfairly, a skilled attorney could advocate on your behalf and advise you on how to protect your rights. Make an appointment for a consultation today if you have questions about how to apply for workers’ compensation in Riverdale.