Workplace injuries can happen in any environment. Workers’ compensation laws exist to protect and support employees who sustain injuries while carrying out the duties of their employment. Contributions from employers fund the program, meaning employers might have an incentive to deny or restrict benefits to their injured employees. An employer might try to force someone back to work before they are ready, or refuse to acknowledge an employee’s disability. If this is happening to you, an experienced personal injury attorney is available to help.
A Windsor workers’ compensation lawyer could ensure that all necessary authorizations and paperwork are completed correctly and filed on time. They could also give advice as to what kinds of benefits might be available to you.
Work-Related Conditions Trigger Benefits
The Workers’ Compensation system is available to many types of employees and covers any injury they suffer while working or engaging in work-related duties. It applies to not just industrial accidents but to the full range of harms that might befall an employee at work.
Many workers’ compensation claims arise out of slips and falls, accidents with tools and machinery, falling debris, and other common shop floor injuries. However, it could cover many other injuries. Examples include:
- Illnesses that arise because of workplace exposure to toxins or irritants
- Injuries sustained in a vehicle accident if driving is part of the employee’s duties, or the employee was driving to a work-related engagement (but not while commuting between home and work)
- Hearing loss
- Carpel tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries
- Heart attack brought on by a performance review
- Food poisoning if caused by food the employer served in a cafeteria
Workers’ comp does not cover some employees in certain industries because there are other federal programs that provide for them. This includes railroad workers who might be covered by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, and seamen and offshore workers who could be covered under the Jones Act. A Windsor workers’ comp attorney could clarify which program might protect an employee in a particular situation.
When Does a Worker Need Legal Representation?
Connecticut General Statute §31-279 governs workers’ compensation in the state. The law sets forth the procedures workers and employers must follow when using the workers’ compensation system.
There are various stages in the workers’ compensation process where an injured person might want to consult a legal professional. The first stage is when they must file an official notice of claim, called Form 30C, to preserve their rights to benefits and satisfy the one-year statute of limitations on workers’ comp claims. An attorney could make sure that this form is completed properly and filed on time.
Once the claim in filed and the injured person is receiving benefits, there may come a time when the worker, the employer, the workers’ compensation insurer, and the physician disagree about the progress of the worker’s healing and their ability to return to work. These disagreements often lead to a hearing, and plaintiffs should not appear at these hearings without counsel.
Damages Available Outside of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation exists to ensure that medical expenses are covered and that employees receive support while unable to work due to injury. The benefits accrue to the worker even if the worker bears some responsibility for their injury. In return, they do not sue their employers for the accident. However, there are a few circumstances in which an injured worker might be able to seek damages in a negligence suit.
If a defective product caused an employee’s injury, the employee might be able to sue the manufacturer for damages. Intentional acts by an employer’s contractor or subcontractor might provide the basis for a lawsuit against the employer for negligent hiring. If an employer denies workers’ compensation benefits in bad faith, or fails to carry workers the insurance at all, the employee could take legal action against them. A workers’ compensation attorney in Windsor or South Windsor could explain whether a negligence lawsuit is an option in their particular case.
Find Your Advocate with a Windsor Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Being out of work is stressful, especially if it is due to medical reasons. It is best to leave the job of advocating for your best interests to a professional and focus instead on your physical recovery. A Windsor workers’ compensation lawyer might be able to provide all the support you need to secure the benefits you deserve. Schedule a consultation as soon as possible so you do not lose out on your earned benefits.