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Frequently Asked Questions About Workers' Compensation
Q: What is workers' compensation?
A: To take the uncertainty out of the circumstances following a work-related injury or industrial illness, the workers' compensation system provides a reliable procedure for resolving resulting problems. Broadly, if the injury occurs in the course of employment, regardless of whether the employer was negligent or otherwise at fault, the worker receives benefits that may include wage replacement, medical coverage or other assistance. The employee is not allowed to sue the employer for the injury and the employer must carry insurance or otherwise legally provide a means to cover workers' compensation expenses. Most employers are subject to the workers' compensation system, but some states exempt smaller employers, and most federal workers and certain national industries are covered instead by comparable federal programs.
Q: What types of injuries or diseases are covered?
A: Virtually all types of work-related physical injury and industrial illness are covered by workers' compensation. Very commonly covered conditions include repetitive-stress injuries (RSIs) like carpal-tunnel syndrome (CTS), back injuries, traumatic injuries, wounds or bodily reactions to substances. Many states also cover mental or emotional harm, but the standards for psychological coverage vary greatly from state to state. Pre-existing conditions are generally not covered unless aggravated at work.
If you get a work-related injury or industrial disease, you should file a claim as soon as possible for workers' compensation benefits. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for lost wages, medical expenses and/or vocational rehabilitation. To find out more about your potential benefits, contact an experienced workers' compensation lawyer now.
Answering Your Workers' Compensation Questions
Every injured worker is protected by workers' compensation. Whether you have sustained an injury or illness after years of repetitive stress or you were suddenly injured in a construction accident, it is important to get the full extent of benefits you deserve. At the Seattle Law Office of James E. Sedney, we protect injured workers throughout Washington.
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Workers' Compensation - An Overview
U.S. employers and their employees rely on our dependable workers' compensation system to resolve disputes about vocational injuries and disease and to provide for related worker needs. Workers' compensation benefits are commonly awarded for work-related injury, illness and death, helping to meet the needs of injured workers and their families even when faced with overwhelming situations. If you or your family member is injured or becomes sick in the course of employment, a workers' compensation lawyer from Law Office of James E. Sedney in Seattle, Washington, can assess your potential workers' compensation claim.
Employer Retaliation against the Workers' Compensation Claimant
Workers' compensation is sometimes viewed as a compromise between employees and employers: workers give up the right to sue for large awards in court in exchange for certain and timely, albeit relatively lower, reimbursement for work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers accept responsibility for these injuries and illnesses even if they are not at fault, but they no longer have to worry about being tied up in court and potentially liable for large verdicts.
Workers' Compensation Death Benefits
In addition to workers' compensation benefits for workers for their job-related injuries and illnesses, if such maladies ultimately result in death, certain survivors have the right to receive death benefits through their states' workers' compensation systems. If you are the family member or dependent of an employee who died from an injury or sickness incurred in the course of his or her employment, a workers' compensation attorney can advise you about workers' compensation death benefits.
Rather than Collecting Workers' Compensation, May I Bring a Lawsuit Against My Employer?
Workers' compensation is usually the only legal remedy for an employee injured or sickened in the course of employment. The public policy behind workers' compensation envisions a bargain between employers and employees in which workers give up the right to sue their employers in court in exchange for the guaranty of workers' compensation benefits. This reduces tension in the workplace by creating a predictable method for resolving employer-employee conflict. Although workers' compensation awards tend to be smaller than those in lawsuits, employees are not left without support during drawn-out court proceedings with unsure outcomes.
What Are the Vocational Rehabilitation Rights of Injured Workers?
Vocational rehabilitation is the process of rebuilding work skills as part of recovering from an injury or illness. Sometimes an injured individual can eventually return to his or her previous job. If an injury places long-term or permanent limitations upon the person, retraining for a new type of job may be necessary. Depending upon the law of your state, if you require vocational rehabilitation after a job injury or industrial illness, your employer or its workers' compensation insurer, or the state, or some combination of these three resources may be required to pay for your vocational rehabilitation services as part of your workers' compensation benefits.