If you have been injured at work, you are probably not just in physical pain, you are likely suffering with worry and a good deal of confusion as well. You are facing medical bills, time out of work, and you are not sure how your boss is going to take all this. You may even be wondering if you can be fired for making a claim. If you are like most people, you feel like you have travelled to a foreign land where you don't know the language. Medical terms and paperwork are coming at you in rapid succession and you are just not sure about all this. The problem is, the stakes have never been higher. YOU NEED HELP FROM AN EXPERIENCED WORKERS' COMPENSATION ATTORNEY AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE RICH TO GET IT.
At Rice Law Office, PLLC, we offer FREE PHONE CONSULATIONS FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION CASES and contingent fee agreements as well. Contingent fees mean you don't pay your attorney an hourly rate; the attorney gets paid only if you recover or if the insurance company is ordered to pay (as is possible in some instances). This means you can afford to ask questions before it is too late.
You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, payment for medical bills, job protection, payment for permanent injuries, and even a settlement depending on the circumstances. Workers' Compensation may also provide vocational training and job placement services for disabled workers who need to change jobs. At Rice Law Office PLLC, we take a global approach to our client's injury cases, and that means we will consider all the available claims and protections you may have. In addition to your workers' compensation case, you may have a claim for damages against a third party, a claim for disability insurance, sick pay, or Social Security. You may also have additional protections under your employer's work policies or state and federal disability laws. We will consider all your options and then fight to get you all the protections available, leaving you to focus on getting better. Each client and each case get the personal attention they deserve.
What You Need to Know about Workers' Compensation
If you are injured on the job, make sure that you keep all documentation of events. Make sure you have notified your employer promptly, that you visit a medical provider, even if at the time you do not believe you have suffered lasting damage, and take down names of witnesses to the event. By having proper documentation, medical evidence and witness statements, you create a much stronger case for receiving workers' compensation benefits. You may want to contact a workers' compensation lawyer before you give any statements to the insurer. It is important to understand the process and your rights and whether you end up using an attorney or not. In the end, you will likely benefit from the FREE CALL, so make use of it. Remember, this is not a claim against your employer, it is an insurance claim, and just like you would submit a claim to your health insurance company, you can submit one here. The trick is, the workers' compensation insurance company is a business looking to make a profit, and payment of claims hurts the bottem line. It is just business to them, but to you, it is your future, and your family's security. Adjusters can be nice or not so nice, but it is important to remember, they are not your friend, they are employees working hard for someone else, and you have every right to consult with an attorney before you talk to them- you can have someone in your corner before you begin this process.
The State and Federal Workers' Compensation Acts were designed to compensate employees who are injured or disabled on the job without the need for litigation. Though there are separate laws for state workers and federal workers, both operate under the same rationale: to compensate a worker injured or disabled by job-related accident or disease. That said, the insurance company is allowed to deny your claim.
While the Federal and State Workers' Compensation Acts were designed to cut down on the need for litigation to receive benefits, there are times when an employee must resort to legal advice. An insurance company may try to deny you benefits to hold down their costs. A claim may also be denied if the paperwork was filed incorrectly, or if medical evidence is missing or incomplete.
If you have been denied, your initial claim for workers' compensation, do not give up hope. You have a right to file a petition to present your case to the NH Department of Labor and to the Compensation Appeals Board for reconsideration. You can overturn a denial. With the help of an attorney you will have the opportunity to explain your circumstance, defend your position and provide new evidence or correct information that may have been misinterpreted in your original claim.
What Injuries are Covered?
The Workers' Compensation Act covers injuries caused by an accident or incident which arose out of an accident during the course of your employment. There have literally been thousands of court cases interpreting the meaning of those phrases. But as a general rule, if a worker suffers an injury that was caused or aggravated by the job, workers' compensation is usually available to help cover medical bills and make up some of the wages lost when the employee cannot work. Injuries can be as varied as a laceration, a broken bone, a head or back injury, as well as hearing or vision loss and repetitive stress syndrome.
Workers' Compensation also covers occupational diseases. Diseases of this nature are often caused by a series of events of similar nature, occurring regularly or at frequent intervals over a period of time in the employment. For example, diseases that arise from repeated and constant motion or exposure to such things as coal dust (black lung), artificial butter flavoring (popcorn packers' lung), lead (lead poisoning), asbestos (mesothelioma), and other toxic substances may be covered as occupational diseases.
The amount of workers' compensation you receive is determined by several factors, but in general, employees in NH are entitled to receive 60% of their average weekly wage if they are taken out of work due to an injury. These payments are tax free, which helps a bit with the loss, but the benefits you receive are not likely to match your full salary unless you have other disabilty insurance available. That's where our global approach to these cases helps. We consider your rights under worker's compensation, employment and disability laws to determine if you have other benefits and protections available which you can combine with your workers' compensation while you recover.