Workers’ compensation laws are passed by the state in order to protect injured workers from financial consequences of an injury, such as paying the medical bills or losing income during their time off work. When an employer signs up for workers’ compensation, they are shifting the responsibility towards the insurance company that provides the workers’ comp insurance.
There are many complex rules that govern how workers’ compensation is enacted. However, even some simple rules are often misconstrued by the employees. A lot of these misconceptions come from workers’ compensation myths perpetuated by ignorance. Therefore, many injured workers choose not to pursue the benefits provided by workers’ comp in fear of repercussions.
If you sustain an injury at work and are covered by workers’ comp, you should definitely reap the benefits. However, navigating through all the laws and rules can be complicated. Therefore, hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is paramount. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate the complicated process and avoid common mistakes that could cost you your case.
In this article, we are going to list some of the most notorious workers’ comp myths in order to make sure you have the right information related to your case.
I Have to File a Lawsuit against My Employer to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits
The most common reason why injured workers choose not to pursue their workers’ comp benefits is the fear of what that might mean for their future employment. One of the most notorious myths claims that in order to receive your workers’ comp benefits you have to sue your employer.
However, the reality is exactly the opposite. Employers get the workers’ compensation insurance in order to avoid a lawsuit in case an accident occurs. In other words, you are entitled to your workers’ compensation benefits only if you agree not to sue your employer.
If you don’t receive the benefits you are entitled to, you will file a lawsuit against the insurance company your employer is insured with, and not the employer. The workers’ comp claims are not subject to civil litigation but are instead handled through an administrative hearing process.
I Cannot Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits Because the Accident Was My Fault
Another completely fabricated myth we often hear is that workers who caused an accident are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Worker’s compensation is a no-fault insurance system, meaning that you are entitled to your claim even if you are partially or fully responsible for the accident. This means that you won’t have to prove your case in order to receive your benefits.
I am Entitled to Benefits due to Pain and Suffering
Every accident, no matter if it was your fault or not, can be difficult for workers to cope with. Injuries could take a lot of time to heal and cause you a lot of pain and suffering. However, you are not entitled to benefits due to pain and suffering that come as a result of your injury.
The workers’ comp laws consider pain and suffering to be non-economic damages. That means that you cannot recover any benefits. The only benefits you are entitled to are medical bills, lostwages and impairment benefits.
I Can Wait Indefinitely to File a Claim
This conviction could easily cost you your case. There is a time limit on how long after your injury you can file a claim. The limit varies from state to state. For example, in Florida and New Jersey you have a two-year limit to file a claim. On the other hand, according to Texas workers’ comp laws that limit is down to one year. However, the injured worker has to report the injury to their employer within 30 days after sustaining it. Finally, according to the workers’ comp law in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitation is up to three years.
The statute of limitation begins at the time of the injury for most work-related injuries. For work-related injuries or diseases that develop over time, the statute of limitation starts from the first time a worker took time off work due to the injury or was diagnosed with the injury. It can also start when you first become aware of the injury and the fact that it is work related.