Understanding your rights to fair compensation after a workplace injury is crucial. While trying to recover from an injury (and dealing with the physical pain and psychological stress), workers often find themselves fighting against a complex worker’s compensation system. This blog sheds light on the hurdles you or a loved one might face and how to overcome them.
Some common roadblocks
After a job-related injury, your financial stability can take a hit due to lost wages. Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation system is supposed to cover about 2/3s of these wages (as a tax free benefit), but sometimes, the process is not as straightforward as expected. The following are some issues workers like you have encountered during the claim process:
- Delays in receiving benefits – Frustrating waits before claims are fully processed and benefits begin can stress an already inconvenient situation.
- Disputed injuries – Employers or insurers might challenge the severity of your injury, causing further delays and complications.
- Incorrect wage calculation – Your average weekly wage determines your benefits. This is a commonly underestimated part of the claim, but it is essential to recover sufficient and fair benefits.
- Disagreements on returning to work – There can be conflict over your ability to return to work and what kind of work you can do.
- Outright claim denials – Sometimes insurers deny claims altogether, forcing workers to appeal for their rightful benefits.
What every worker should know and do
The process can be daunting, but you are not without tools to fight for your rights. It is vital to:
- Be prompt and precise – Report your injury as soon as possible and ensure your documentation is accurate.
- Provide medical records and authorizations – You need to have a doctor provide you with off work or physical limitation notes. You should get a copy for yourself. Make sure your employer receives a copy. Get updated notes each and every time you see a doctor.
- Understand your wage calculation – Calculating the average weekly wage is not always straightforward. Depending on how long you have worked for the injury employer, compensation should include factors like overtime to avoid further wage loss. Unfortunately, the value of lost health insurance premiums or 401k/pension contributions is not part of the calculation.
- Know your rights – Familiarize yourself with Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation laws to understand your entitlements.
- Get professional help – Seek legal advice if you are facing resistance from your employer or the insurance company.
Unfortunately, many employers or insurance companies may not have their workers’ best interests at heart. These tips can help workers’ fight for what they deserve.
Unlawful requests from employers and taking action
Injuries could mean time away from work. More severe cases could lead to a lengthy recovery and potential inability to return to work–resulting in vocational rehabilitation or loss of earning capacity benefits. If your employer has pushed you to use sick pay instead of filing a claim, or your overtime hours are not in your wage calculation, among other unethical practices, it’s time to act.
Remember, you deserve full benefits while you recover from an on-the-job injury. If you are facing lost wage claims issues, professional guidance can help ensure you get what you are entitled to. Your livelihood and the financial well-being of your family depend on it.