Every fall, students across Wisconsin return to school. So do the teachers. Though many teachers work throughout the year, the start of the school year can be an exciting time for educators: new students, perhaps a new curriculum and so on. But it can also mean an increased risk of getting injured on the job.
To non-teachers, working in a school might not seem very dangerous compared to, say, construction or manufacturing. But you can get hurt doing any kind of job, including teaching. And if it happens to you as a teacher, you could be temporarily disabled and unable to work for a long time. Teachers are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits by law.
How a Wisconsin teacher can get hurt on the job
Common causes of job-related injuries for schoolteachers include:
- Repetitive stress injuries to joints or spines from being on their feet all day, or lifting/carrying items throughout the course of day, week….or years!
- Slip-and-fall accidents on icy sidewalks and parking lots, and floors wet from mopping.
- Assaults by students, with resulting physical and psychological (post-traumatic stress disorder) injuries.
Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation statute covers virtually all employees, including public employees. Whether you teach at a public, private or charter school, you are entitled to workers’ comp to help pay your medical bills and lost wages after a work-related injury or illness. The challenge then becomes showing a connection between your work duties and your injury. This could come from a single incident like a trip-and-fall accident or years of work, such as repetitive job duties.
If a teacher’s work injury results in permanent limitations that do not allow a return to work, they also can pursue a loss of earning capacity claim–resulting in compensation for future lost earnings. The law restricts pursuing a loss of earning capacity claim to only certain types of injuries (primarily spine and mental injury claims), so consultation with a work comp attorney is helpful.
Additionally, some teachers may have their work comp benefits inappropriately cut off during summer months when they would not be working or teaching. However, if they are still recovering from a work injury and under limitations or off work completely from a physician, lost wage benefits (TTD) generally should still be paid. Talking to a work comp attorney is important if a teacher’s benefits are cut off in the summer months.
If you have already made a claim for workers’ comp but have been turned down, you can still appeal. You may still be entitled to substantial workers’ compensation. Working with a workers’ comp attorney can help you make a strong and compelling case on appeal.