According to the Department of Labor, there were 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries in 2016. Of course, this includes those cases that may not affect the worker’s ability to continue working. But what if your injury forces you to take time off? You have bills to pay, and you need to buy groceries, but you also need to recover from your injury. What do you do?
Workers’ Compensation is basically insurance carried by an employer that makes it relatively easy for an employee to get compensated if they were injured at work or made ill by their employment. An injured worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation regardless of whether his employer is at fault for the accident. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation is an alternative to suing your employer for your injuries.
In order to qualify, you need to have been injured while on the job and need to be an employee of the company. This may seem obvious, but can sometimes be complicated. For example, you may encounter resistance when seeking workers’ compensation for injuries that occur in connection with your employment but away from the job site. Similarly, because some injuries may develop cumulatively over time as a result of repetition or overuse, it may be difficult to prove that the injury arose as a result of your employment.
Again, it may seem obvious, but you also need to be an employee of the company. Independent contractors and volunteers cannot qualify for workers’ compensation. As a result, it’s important to understand your relationship and employment status with your employer. Also, keep in mind that your employer may not have categorized your employment status correctly.
What about Disability?
Disability benefits are a similar benefit but differ in important ways. Generally speaking, workers compensation covers you for injuries sustained on the job, while disability covers you for injuries outside of work. Keep in mind that there are state disability benefits, as well as Social Security Disability benefits.
Disability benefits may also overlap with workers’ compensation, but you typically cannot receive both at the same time. However, you may be able to claim disability benefits if your employer is denying your workers’ compensation claim. Just be aware that if you prevail in your workers’ compensation claim, you may be obligated to return the disability funds you received.
These cases are often simple but can get complicated just as quickly. The devil is in the details, as they say, so you should contact an attorney if you’re injured and don’t know how to proceed.
But I’m Out of Work – How Can I Afford an Attorney?
This is an important question, and you should make sure you understand how you will be billed before you hire an attorney. The good news is that most workers’ compensation and disability attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t pay any money up front, you only pay a share of the amount they recover for you.
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’re injured, and out of work, you need to understand your rights. The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd can help you navigate the benefits maze, and you don’t pay any fees unless we win. Call us at 404-255-6677 or email us via our online contact form in order to schedule a free consultation.