Portsmouth, NH Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Injuries at work are very common, especially in the manufacturing and construction industries, as well as in jobs that require physical activity and labor. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of their rights under workers’ compensation laws should they become injured on the job.
As an employee, you should not be afraid to file a workers’ compensation claim. Many injured employees often fear that they will lose their job or face hostility at work if they pursue a claim. Your place of employment is required to have workers’ compensation coverage and register its coverage with the Department of Labor by identifying the insurance carrier, the number of employees, and the types of work performed.
Your workers’ compensation rights include:
- The right to seek medical care by the physician of your choosing.
- The right to have your reasonable and necessary medical costs arising from your work injury paid for in full – including any out of pocket expenses.
- The right to return to your position or be provided with training to help you obtain another position at the company.
- If you are unable to work, the right to obtain a portion of your paid salary.
- The right to be treated with respect and dignity by your insurance provider and your employer.
If your employer does not provide workers’ compensation coverage and you have been injured on the job, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The law will require that your employer ensure that you receive the same benefits as if insurance was in place.
Workers’ Compensation Denials
Many times, workers’ compensation claims are initially denied. This happens for a lot of reasons. Sometimes whether you sustained a work-related injury is questionable. Other times whether the medical care or treatment you received was reasonable and necessary for the injury can be challenged. Sometimes, workers’ compensation insurers deny claims hoping that the injured worker will not challenge the denial and pursue rights available under the law. In such an instance, it is important to know that although you may have health insurance and it may cover the costs of the medical care and treatment you received, it will not grant you payment for any lost wages or cover your out of pocket expenses such as co-pays, prescription costs, or mileage that you may incur due to your injury.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, therefore, you can and should consult an attorney about whether you can appeal the denial to obtain your rightful benefits. Your attorney will review you case, assess the denial, and help you appeal the decision. The appeal process can be complicated which is why working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is in your best interests.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Workers’ Compensation
Q: Am I covered by workers’ compensation?
A: If you sustain an “injury” while working or while engaged in a work-related activity the answer is generally, yes. There are exceptions to this, however. There also are instances in which you may not think that there is workers’ compensation coverage, but it exists. Instances such as this include when you are performing a job-related errand or doing a task for the benefit of your employer, or engaging in an activity at work that your employer promotes such as exercising or recreation.
As an employee, you have the right to obtain medical care at the facility of your choosing. You also have the right to have your medical costs paid in full and to return to your position after you are cleared by a doctor. If your injury has made you unable to perform the essential functions of your job, your employer is required to provide training to help you obtain another position at the company.
New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Law RSA 281-A:5 states that each part-time and full-time employee at a company must be covered by workers’ compensation. If your employer is refusing your benefits, you should speak with a workers’ compensation attorney right away.
Q: What do I do immediately after a workplace injury?
A: Obtain medical attention. Then, as soon as possible, report it to your employer. This is important because your employer then must file a First Report of Injury with the Department of Labor. This triggers the involvement of the workers’ compensation insurer to determine whether there is coverage under workers’ compensation insurance.
Q: What do I do if my claim is denied?
A: It is not uncommon for workers’ compensation claims to be denied. Many times this happens because the insurer does not understand how the injury happened, have enough information regarding the nature of the injury, or fully understand the employee’s job responsibilities and how the activity in which the employee was engaged resulted in injury. It also is common for denials to turn into acceptances of coverage after an initial period of investigation, contemplation, and assessment. By working with a qualified attorney, you will have an expert on your side that will be able to pursue the appeal of your claim so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Q: What if the injury was my fault?
A: The availability of workers’ compensation insurance does not depend on whether the injury was the fault of the employer or the employee. If you are injured at work, you can still be covered by workers’ compensation even if the injury happened because of something that you did or failed to do. There are exceptions to this, however. You likely will not have coverage if the injury happened because you were impaired due to drugs or alcohol or you intentionally engaged in reckless conduct that resulted in injury. Otherwise, there is likely coverage.
Q: What if my employer retaliated because of the claim I filed?
A: Under workers’ compensation laws, you have the right to be treated with respect and dignity by your employer. If your employer retaliates against you in any way directly because of your workers’ compensation claim, you should contact an attorney right away. The law does not allow this and there are remedies available to you in such an instance.
Q: What should I do if I am offered a settlement?
A: First, make sure that you understand your rights and know what it is you may be relinquishing in exchange for a settlement. Sometimes insurers will offer a lump sum amount in exchange for a release of all potential claims by the employee. This might be beneficial because the amount received is not taxable. But accepting the amount is in exchange for a release of rights. These rights include the right to wages, payment of all related medical bills, and a permanent impairment award. The value of these things may far exceed what can sometimes be the short-term benefit that an early settlement provides. Please make sure you know, therefore, the pros and cons of a potential settlement before you accept it by discussing your situation with an attorney.
Find the Help You Need
Workers’ compensation claims are often overwhelming, especially if you have sustained a serious injury or are facing retaliation from your employer. Our Portsmouth, NH law office can help you understand your rights and determine if you have been fairly treated. If we can help your case, we will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. If we cannot help, we will gladly direct you to someone who can. Contact us today for a free consultation.