Some things you can't plan for, like getting hurt at work. We know better than most how a work injury can turn your life upside down. At a time when your life feels out of control, the best thing you can do is put yourself in the hands of people who know how to get the help you need.
Some businesses and insurance companies will not give you the care and support you need following an injury. Some will deny your claim or make it difficult to get the medical and financial resources you're entitled to. That's where we come in. We will get you the medical, financial, and other help you need to get on a path to recovery.
Why Choose Us?
There's something that sets us apart - we won't stop working for you and with you until we've brought you back to a positive view of the future. You didn't intend to get hurt and the last thing you expected was for the people you worked for to pull the rug out from under your feet. Contact us today, so we can get you on the path to recovery and fair compensation.
Contact us for a free consultation!
Q: When should I tell my employer about my work injury?
A: To receive benefits, you MUST tell your employer that you have been injured within 30 days (90 days for injuries occurring before January 1, 2014) of your injury (example: the date you injured your back lifting packages at work) or within 30 days of learning that your injury is work-related (example: the date a doctor tells you the pain in your wrists is caused by using a computer at work). If you wait more than 30 days after your injury to inform your employer, you may forever lose your right to claim workers' compensation benefits for that injury.
Q: Am I entitled to see a doctor for my injury?
A: Yes. For the first ten days of your medical treatment, your employer has the right to choose the health care provider who treats your injury. After ten days, you have the right to select a health care provider.
Q: After I have begun treating with my own health care provider, can my employer ask me to see another doctor?
A: Yes. Your employer or their insurance carrier is permitted to ask you to see another doctor of their choice for an independent medical examination. After they have conducted one independent medical examination, they are only allowed to send you to one additional health care provider without approval from the Workers' Compensation Board.
Q: What medical benefits am I entitled to?
A: Under the Workers' Compensation Act, you are entitled to coverage of all medical treatment which is reasonable, necessary, and causally related to your injury. You are also entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of prescription medications and mileage to and from health care providers.
Q: Am I entitled to compensation if I am unable to work as a result of my injury?
A: Yes. If you miss more than seven days of work due to your injury, you are entitled to receive weekly compensation benefits from your employer or their insurance company starting on the eighth day of work you have missed. If you miss more than 14 days of work, you will also receive benefits retroactive to the date of injury.
Q: How much will I be paid if I miss time from work?
A: For injuries occurring after January 1, 1993, you will be paid 80% of your earnings after taxes. In most cases, your average weekly wage is calculated by averaging your earnings from your job during the 52-week period prior to your injury. For injuries occurring after January 1, 2013 you will be paid 2/3 of your gross earnings.
Q: I received a Memorandum of Payment saying that my claim is voluntary payment pending investigation. What does this mean?
A: This means your employer is paying your claim without accepting it completely. By doing so, your employer retains the right to reduce or suspend your benefits after providing you with 21-day notice.
Q: If I receive a 21-day notice from my employer indicating that they plan to reduce or terminate my benefits, is there anything I can do to retain my benefits?
A: Yes. You can file a request for a Provisional Order with the Workers' Compensation Board asking a hearing officer to reinstate your benefits pending a final decision by the Board after your claim has been fully litigated. The hearing officer has the following options, which he or she may exercise relatively quickly: reinstate your benefits completely; reinstate your benefits partially; or do nothing.
Q: I returned to work following my injury but am earning less money than I was at the time of my injury. Am I still entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits?
A: Yes. How your benefits are calculated depends on your date of injury. For those injuries occurring between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 2012, if you return to work and your injury prevents you from earning your prior average weekly wage, you are entitled to receive partial incapacity benefits equal to the difference between 80% of your after-tax, pre-injury average weekly wage and 80% of your earnings in your new position. For injuries occurring after January 1, 2013 you are entitled to 2/3 of the difference between what you were earning on your date of injury and what you are able to earn after that time.
Q: How long can I receive benefits for lost time from work?
A: The length of time you can receive benefits depends on the date and severity of your injury. You are entitled to receive benefits for the entire time you are unable to work. If your incapacity to work is partial, the length of time you can receive benefits depends upon your date of injury. If you were injured on or after January 1, 1993, and your incapacity is partial, you are generally entitled to receive benefits for a maximum of 520 weeks, with some exceptions. You can ask the Workers' Compensation Board to order the employer to continue paying you benefits after 364 weeks if you will suffer an extreme financial hardship without these benefits. If you were injured on or after January 1, 1993, and your injury has caused permanent impairment greater than the permanent impairment of 75% of injured workers, you are entitled to receive incapacity benefits as long as your work injury prevents you from earning what you were earning at the time of your injury. If you were injured after January 1, 2013, unless your are totally incapacitated, in most cases your benefits are limited to 520 weeks, no matter how much permanent impairment you have sustained.
Q: What is the statute of limitations?
A: The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a claim for benefits with your employer. (This is different from your obligation to notify your employer of your injury within 30 days.) The statute of limitations varies depending on the date of injury. At a minimum, you have two years after the date of your injury, or the last time your employer made a payment on your behalf, to file a claim. If you do not file a claim within the specified time, you will never be able to assert a claim.
Q: I received a notice from the Workers' Compensation Board regarding a mediation in my claim. What is this?
A: When there is a dispute regarding some aspect of your claim, the Board will schedule a conference in an attempt to resolve the dispute. A mediator will be present to discuss your case with both you and your employer and/or their insurance company to try and resolve the dispute without further litigation. If your claim cannot be resolved by the mediator, you must file a formal petition and proceed with litigation before the Workers' Compensation Board in order to receive any benefits which have been denied.
Q: What If there are different medical opinions about my injury? Is there a procedure for resolving the dispute?
A: Yes. Under Section 312 of the Workers' Compensation Act, a party has the right to ask the Board to select a doctor to examine the employee. If the Board selects the physician, the doctor's opinion is entitled to substantial weight, which means there must be clear and convincing evidence that the doctor was wrong in order for his or her opinion to be rejected. The parties can also agree on a physician to examine you. If both sides agree to a particular physician, his or her opinion is binding on both parties.
Q: Does my employer have to give my job back to me?
A: If you are physically able to return to work and your job is still available, your employer must offer your job to you. If your job has been filled, or you are unable to return to that job because of your injury, your employer must give you a job you are capable of performing, if such a job is available. Your employer must also make reasonable accommodations for your injury. If your employer does not have appropriate work available, you do not have the right to force them to create a job for you. Your right to be reinstated to your pre-injury job is limited to one year after your injury, unless your employer has more than 200 employees, in which case your right to be reinstated continues for three years after your injury.
Q: Do I have an obligation to look for work once I have work capacity following my injury?
A: Yes. As soon as your doctor releases you to return to work, you should check with your employer to see if they have any work for you. If they do not, you must begin looking for other work which fits any physical restrictions you may have. If you do not look for work, your employer or their workers' compensation insurance carrier may reduce or terminate your weekly benefits.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to represent me in my claim?
A: Whether an injured employee needs a lawyer in a workers' compensation claim depends upon several factors, including: the severity of the injury; the length of time the employee will be out of work; the nature of the dispute, if any, between the parties; and the amount of benefits at stake. Most lawyers will consult with an injured employee free of charge and help determine whether representation is necessary.
If you are unable to obtain a lawyer, you will, in most cases, be able to obtain assistance from an Advocate at the Workers' Compensation Board free of charge.
Q: Can my employer discriminate against me because I file a workers' compensation claim?
A: The law prohibits employers from discriminating against workers for filing workers' compensation claims. If you think your employer has discriminated against you because you filed a workers' compensation claim, you can file a Petition to Remedy Discrimination. If you prevail on that petition, your employer will be responsible for paying attorney's fees.