WORKERS' COMP LAWYER
DOUD, SMITH & WAGNER'S attorneys help workers who were injured on the job and were denied their workers' comp claims. Using our experience advocating for workers, we help them navigate the process of trying to recover the money they might rightfully be owed.
Our attorneys handle on-the-job injury claims involving, but not limited to:
Muscular injuries, broken bones, torn ligaments, torn rotator cuffs, and herniated disks from lifting, pushing, or other actions;
Sickness from exposure to toxins, including occupational diseases like mesothelioma or Black Lung;
Head injuries like concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from falling objects or falls;
Tendonitis or other repetitive motion injuries;
Hearing loss or damage;
Cold and heat stress or burn injuries from accidents like electrocution; and
Assorted injuries to the back, spinal cord, shoulder, eyes, knees, neck, hip, respiratory organs, ankles, wrists, feet, and hands.
Third-party claims: Although workers’ compensation is typically no-fault, employees injured on-the-job by-products or machinery could sue the manufacturer of those items to obtain compensation in court (in addition to their filing a standard workers’ compensation claim).
These injuries may be the result of unavoidable accidents, dangerous working environments, inadequate training, or faulty machinery. negligence or fault.
WHO AND WHAT TO DO
Workers’ compensation eligibility depends on several factors, including, if the employee works for the federal government, and even the industry (for example, the railroad industry has its own system spelled out by a special federal law). All in all, most employees are covered by a workers’ compensation plan of some sort.
For example, with some exceptions, employers who have four or more employees, and construction companies with even just one employee must provide coverage; must provide insurance, with some liable for subcontractors’ employees. Essentially every employer must offer insurance.
The majority of unintentional injuries, diseases, illnesses, accidents, and deaths occurring in the workplace are covered by workers’ compensation laws. Importantly, because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, workers are not required to prove fault for their injuries to recover benefits.
A worker must report a workplace injury to his or her employer within 30 days of the accident. The employee has a certain amount of time after the initial injury report to file a workers’ compensation claim.
When first reporting the accident, the injured worker should provide specific details, such as:
Names of witnesses;
Location of the accident;
Cause of accident; and
Time and date of the accident and injury.
THE HEARING: WORKERS RIGHTS
Although an injured worker isn’t required to have an attorney at the hearing, it is often advisable. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will know what to expect and how to better address situations that may arise during proceedings.
At the hearing, an injured employee or their attorney can present evidence showing why they are entitled to benefits. This evidence often includes the details of the workplace accident—where, when, and how an accident happened— and a detailed account of the employee’s subsequent medical treatment.
An attorney may utilize medical records to clarify the extent of their client’s injuries to the judge, as well as a physician’s opinion on the employee’s ability to work and how the claimant’s work injury was directly related to his or her job. In some instances, medical experts may be called upon to attest to an employee’s ability to return to work and perform their job responsibilities going forward.
The hearing also serves as an opportunity for insurance companies and employers to rebut evidence and attempt to prove a worker is not entitled to benefits.
How long a workers’ compensation appeal takes depends on several factors. Generally, though, after evidence is presented and testimony is heard, a judge will typically make a decision within 30 days.
Alternative solutions may be available through mediation to settle workers’ compensation disputes. A mediator may be allowed to assist in obtaining a more creative and mutually acceptable resolution involving modified job assignments or monetary arrangements.