Understanding what workers’ compensation can do for you as a worker in Wisconsin is not guaranteed to be straightforward. In fact, most workers in the state can probably admit that they were never given even a rough outline of workers’ comp from their employer when they were hired. If you are in the same situation and want to know more or how to file a claim, check out this brief Wisconsin workers’ compensation from The Previant Law Firm, S.C. To get information directly from an attorney, contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation:
What is workers’ compensation coverage? Workers’ compensation is a system designed to provide lost wages and medical costs to a worker who is hurt on the job. Worker’s compensation in Wisconsin is a no fault system, which means you can get compensation even if you inadvertently caused your own injuries. The trade off is that an employee cannot choose a court action as an alternative against his employer or co-employee to obtain more money for damages.
What is an on-the-job injury? “On-the-job” is actually an intentionally broad term. If you are hurt in your place of work or while performing a work-related task anywhere, you can get workers’ compensation benefits. For example, you are covered if you get hurt while on lunch in the breakroom, at a company holiday party hosted by a local hotel, or while traveling for work, like going to the store to get more printer ink for your supervisor.
What benefits can you probably get? Wisconsin workers’ compensation laws require injured worker’s to be provided the full cost of all necessary medical treatments, reimbursement for traveling to medical appointments and prescription medicines, and two thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage.
Can I get retrained if I can’t keep doing my job? Some workplace injuries are severe enough to permanently prevent you from continuing your typical employment role. If you have permanent work restrictions and are unable to return to work with your employer, we recommend that you contact the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The DVR is a state agency that provides career planning to people with permanent work limitations. The worker’s compensation insurance carrier is responsible for paying you temporary total disability benefits and the costs of schooling if a retraining program is designed by the DVR.
When do I need to tell my employer? You need to tell your employer or supervisor about your workplace accident within 30 days of it. However, the sooner you can tell them, the better. Ideally, your employer or supervisor will be told about your accident within the hour of it happening. Waiting longer than 30 days can invalidate your chances of filing a claim, but every day that passes will add to your employer’s suspicion about the legitimacy of your accident and injuries.
Do I get benefits right away? You do not get workers’ compensation immediately after being in a workplace accident. There is a 3-day waiting period that must pass before you are eligible for disability benefits. In other words, if your injury makes you miss less than 3 days of work, then you are not guaranteed wage-related benefits, but your medical treatment must still be paid for by the worker’s compensation insurance carrier. If you are unable to work for 7 days or longer, then you will be retroactively compensated for the first 3 days that went unpaid.
How can I be sure if I am covered by workers’ compensation? Nearly every employer in Wisconsin needs to provide workers’ compensation for their employees. Any company with 3 or more workers, except farming companies in the agricultural industry, needs to purchase a workers’ compensation insurance policy that covers all of their employees. Coverage begins on the first day an employee works, too. A company with 3 or fewer workers who has paid $500.00 or more in wages in any calendar quarter for work in Wisconsin is covered by worker’s compensation.. Independent contractors are not considered employees and do not need to be provided workers’ compensation coverage by law.
Can I get fired because I got hurt? No, your employer is not allowed to terminate your employment because you were hurt or because you filed for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are fired after an on-the-job accident, then it could be considered retaliation or employment discrimination. You should speak with both a workers’ compensation lawyer and an employment law attorney if you are in such a situation.
What type of injuries are considered work-related? Virtually any type of injury suffered in the workplace or during a job duty can be considered a work-related injury covered by workers’ compensation. Most people imagine serious injuries being related to a workers’ comp claim, like a back or neck injury. The truth is many filings follow less visible injuries, like hearing loss experienced from working in a manufacturing plant or repetitive stress injuries from prolonged work activities causing deterioration to bones and joints.
Can I choose my own doctor to treat me? Wisconsin gives injured employees complete control over the medical provider they see after being hurt in a workplace injury. An injured worker may retain the services of any doctor, chiropractor, podiatrist or psychologist licensed in Wisconsin. An employer cannot restrict an employee to a health care provider chosen by the employer (except if provided in an emergency).