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When an injury occurs at work, the first priority is to attend to the injured. Once medical treatment is initiated, thoughts turn to Workers’ Compensation. Concerns about paying medical costs can become overwhelming, and one of the first questions will be inquiring as to when benefits will start. Injured workers and their families that are not familiar with how Workers’ Compensation is handled will have many questions and uncertain expectations.
In most states, employers are legally bound to pay the medical bills that are directly related to the work injury. Usually, this happens before the claim is authorized.
Once a claim is accepted, the employee may be entitled to additional Workers’ Compensation benefits. This is all contingent on the type and severity of the injuries, ability to return to work, and other circumstances.
In Delaware, all employers with at least one employer, excluding farm workers, must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Independent contractors are also not covered. An injured worker must notify their employer immediately, and request medical attention.
The notification should be made in writing. The employer must also be informed about any claims for compensation. If the injury was fatal, the dependent(s) are responsible for the notification.
The employee should also inform their physicians that a Workers’ Compensation claim is being filed. This way, the doctor and medical facility can submit their bills directly to the employer or the employer’s insurance carrier.
The employer must submit a First Report of Occupational Injury or Disease within 10 days to their insurance carrier and the Office of Workers’ Compensation. Not doing so can result in a fine of $100 to $250. This report must be filed for all claims, even minor ones.
These benefits include compensation for temporary lost work time, permanent disability, permanent impairment, disfigurement, or death. The employee will initially receive a notice about the claim, stating if it has been accepted or denied.
If denied, the employee can initiate an appeal; benefits will only commence if the appeal is won. If accepted, the doctor may have to complete additional paperwork to finish the process.
If temporary disability benefits are granted, they will continue until the employer proves that the employee can return to work. This, too, can be appealed.
In some cases, Workers’ Compensation claims are closed when workers are permanently disabled and get pensions; if an employee agrees to a structured settlement agreement; or if they are permanently partially disabled and end up receiving a specified weekly payment.
Pension benefits will continue for the employee’s lifetime. For structured settlements, the employer pays smaller amounts of money to the worker over a specified period of time. Permanently partially disabled employees may be compensated with weekly benefits, depending on the severity of the injury and previous wages.
Work injuries can be devastating to employees, but we are on your side. With years of experience in all types of Workers’ Compensation claims, a Milford Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow will fight to get you the compensation you are entitled to. Call our Milford office at 302-422-6705, Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, Bear office at 302-834-8484, or complete an online form. We serve clients throughout Delaware.