Frequently asked questions
Q: How do you give notice to the employer of the time and place of an injury that took years to become apparent, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome?
A: Give an employer notice of the date when you became aware that your injury could be work related.
Q: I have been working on the line doing repetitive action but did not have a particular accident. Am I covered?
A: Yes, possibly. It is important for you to consult with an attorney to protect your rights and to help you get adequately compensated. Just because there isn’t a specific event or accident that causes your injury doesn’t mean that your injury is not work related. Many workers suffer from repetitive trauma injuries, where doing the same motion day after day for a period of time causes wear and tear on their body and eventually, injury. These types of injuries are commensurable but you have to take steps to protect your rights.
Q: I was injured in an accident at work. I was off work for 6 weeks because of my injury. The company agreed to pay me 3 1/2 weeks pay. Is that all I’m entitled to?
A: You may be entitled to more. You need to consult an attorney so that you may protect your rights and be certain that you are adequately compensated for your injury and lost wages.
Q: I’m a truck driver for X Company and I was injured in an accident caused by another driver. I’ve been paid workers compensation. Is that all I’m entitled to?
A: You may also have what is referred to as a third party case, that is, a regular personal injury lawsuit against someone where a jury can make an award for pain and suffering; disfigurement; disability; and for the nature and extent of your injuries. You may be able to receive an adequate award – far more than you would receive under workers compensation. With all cases there is a time limit from the date of the accident within which you have to file a case. To protect your rights you should contact an attorney.
Q: How do I know if I’m getting the right amount of TTD?
A: TTD is two-thirds (66 2/3%) of the employee’s gross average weekly wage, subject to certain limits. The average is based on the employee’s wages during the year before the injury or exposure. The rate is fixed at the time of injury, and does not change with changes in the employee’s salary or the statewide average weekly wage. If you don’t think you are getting the right amount of TTD, contact a lawyer.
Q: I got hurt at work when I fell off a scaffold work. It was my fault, though, so am I entitled to workers compensation?
A: Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits provided by law to most workers who have job-related injuries or diseases. These benefits are paid regardless of fault. The amount of the benefits is limited by law. Further, it may not have been entirely you fault and you may have a claim against others such as the general contractor.
Q: Are workers’ compensation benefits subject to state and federal income tax?
A: No. Workers’ compensation payments are not subject to state or federal income tax and do not need to be reported on your tax returns as income.
Q: Am I entitled to pain and suffering for my work related injury?
A: No. Under Workers’ Compensation the amount of benefits for a work related injury is limited by law. Pain and suffering is not part of the workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you were injured by a third party, you could possibly have a regular lawsuit where a jury can make an award for pain and suffering.
Q: I want to file a workers’ compensation claim for my work related injury, but I can’t afford to be considered a trouble-maker and possibly lose my job. What should I do?
A: You should file a comp claim. It is against the law for the employer to harass, discharge, refuse to rehire or in any way discriminate against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Such conduct by the employer may give rise to a right to file a separate lawsuit for damages against the employer.
Q: Do I have to file a claim with the Commission to receive benefits?
A: No. It is not mandatory. However, if you are not receiving all the benefits provided by law, you should file a claim. Even if you are receiving benefits, if you are concerned about protecting your rights to receive future medical care and compensation for disability, then you should file.
Q: I have accepted payment of workers’ compensation benefits and medical benefits from my employer, have I given up my rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act?
A: No. In order to close out your rights, a settlement must be written on the pink form called “Settlement Contract Lump Sum Petition and Order” provided by the Commission. The Commission must approve the settlement before your rights are terminated. If you dispute the amount of compensation you are receiving, you have at least two years from the date of the last voluntary workers’ compensation payment to file a claim with the Commission.
Q: When should I go back to work?
A: You should go back to work as soon as your doctor releases you to go back to work and as soon as you are well enough to return to your job. The purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to treat the injured worker and to get them back to work. You won’t be compensated for being off work for an unnecessary amount of time if your injuries do not warrant the time off.
Q: I am receiving Social Security Disability Benefits, does this affect my workers’ compensation claim?
A: Yes. If you are receiving SS disability or are considering applying for disability, you should be aware that your workers’ compensation claim may be affected by this. It is important to discuss your disability application with your workers’ compensation attorney before settlement.