Workers’ compensation can be a sticky subject. There are many employers out there who don’t properly inform their employees about workers’ compensation claims because they don’t want to have to pay employees injured on the job. This can lead to a lot of misinformation, making it difficult to know what you can and can’t do when you’re injured on the job. In fact, many employees are hesitant to even file a workers compensation claim, because they feel it could put their job in jeopardy. Believe it or not, that’s just one of the many myths surrounding workers’ compensation claims. Here are 5 of the most common workers’ compensation myths, explained:
Myth #1 If I pursue a workers’ compensation claim, I could be fired.
We understand that it can be scary to file a workers’ compensation claim. There are a lot of stories out there about people losing their jobs after a claim, but the truth of the matter is that it simply is not legal. If your employer threatens to fire you after you are injured on the job, both federal and state laws will protect you from this termination if you choose to continue pursuing your claim. Your employer is not allowed to fire you from your position without a reasonable cause. Filing a workers’ compensation claim for an injury you sustained at work is certainly not reasonable cause.
Myth #2 I can file a claim whenever I want after the injury
This is another workers’ compensation myth that is fairly common. A lot of people think that they can simply file a workers’ comp claim at any point following the injury. In fact, each state has a different limit of time on how long you have to file a claim. In most cases, it’s a certain period of time following the first instance of injury. That’s why it’s important to file a claim the first time an injury happens, not after you’ve had to deal with it for a while. In the case of repetitive motion trauma, and other injuries where you might not notice the problem right away, these time limitations typically start when you first have to take off work because of the injury. It’s important to know that you shouldn’t wait until your medical bills are becoming too much to pay before you file a compensation claim. If you’re injured at work to the point that you need to seek medical attention, you should file a workers’ compensation claim immediately. If you wait too long, your claim may no longer be eligible.
Myth #3 I can only file a claim if the injury was my employer’s fault
Many employees injured on the job worry that they can’t file a claim because their employer wasn’t negligent. If you were the cause of your on-the-job injury, you may feel you can’t file a claim, and some bosses will even say this to deter employees from filing. The truth is that because of the workers’ comp “no-fault” system, an employee can still receive compensation for their medical bills even if they were entirely at fault for an incident. You won’t be able to sue an employer in court for sustained injuries, but you will receive compensation to cover your workplace injuries, regardless of who was at fault.
Myth #4 No matter how I’m injured on the job, I will receive workers’ compensation
As we previously mentioned, workers’ compensation has a no-fault policy, which means even if you were at fault for the injury, you should receive compensation. While this is true, there are still one or two instances where you aren’t able to receive compensation. Mental illness, for example, can be difficult to connect directly to a job or position. If your condition cannot be linked specifically to your workplace, you may not have a solid workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, if you were injured while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is unlikely that you will receive workers’ compensation.
Myth #5 Workers’ compensation will cover all costs related to my injury
This is another important myth to get straightened out: many employees think that by filing a workers’ compensation claim, they will receive compensation to cover every damage they’ve suffered. Unfortunately, some expenses are left out of most standard workers’ compensation payments. For example, a worker will never receive compensation for pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation claim, no matter how severe the injury. Those damages have to be settled in lawsuits based on negligence. Workers’ compensation exists outside of the courtroom, and if a claim goes through the way it’s supposed to, you’ll receive compensation for your medical bills and associated costs. It’s when an insurance company or employer denies your claim or has been negligent that you may file for a lawsuit to win the compensation you deserve.
We hope this post helps clear up some of the many myths out there about workers’ compensation. Just remember that if you are injured on the job, you have a right to workers’ compensation. It was put in place to help the workers, and the families of workers who are injured on the job, get back on their feet. If you’re unsure about your potential workers’ compensation claim, feel free to get in touch with the experienced attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm. We’ve been handling workers’ compensation claims for decades, so we can offer relevant, helpful counsel on your workers’ compensation case. As always, an initial case evaluation with the Epstein Law Firm is free. Give us a call at 773-522-7000 or request an appointment for your free case evaluation today!