Filing a Claim
I've been hurt at work, now what?
- Immediately Notify Your Employer: When you have an injury at work, regardless of whether you feel you can “work through the pain,” you should immediately report the injury to your supervisor or company designated contact person. If the problem is not the result of a single event but rather caused by exposures or repeated events that happen over a period of time, the injury is reported as soon as the worker is aware that there is a problem and that the problem might be caused by or related to the employment. If you work 2nd or 3rd shift, your company should have a procedure in place for reporting injuries if the business office is closed.
- Seek Medical Attention: Depending upon the facilities available, the you will either be seen at the company medical department, or referred to an occupational clinic, a private physician, or the emergency room if necessary. At this point the company doctor or the private physician takes responsibility for the ongoing medical care of the injured worker. If the help of a specialist or hospitalization is needed, the proper arrangements are made.
- Employer Files Report of Injury: If it appears that the disability will last for more than one week, the employer files an Employer's Basic Report of Injury Form WC-100 with the Workers' Disability Compensation Agency. If the employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, its insurance company is informed of the injury and begins the claim investigation process. If it is a self-insured employer, it may handle the claim through its workers' compensation department, or refer the case for management to a "service company."
- Collecting Wage Loss Benefits: When you have been off for 7 consecutive days, you are eligible for wage loss benefits. Starting the 8th day, the employer begins calculating the wage loss benefits potentially owed. The Workers' Disability Compensation Act provides that the employer has up to 30 days to make each payment. The payments are made by the self-insured employer or the insurance carrier to the injured worker. Payments are not made by the state or the Workers' Disability Compensation Agency. The employer or insurance company reports to the agency that it has begun paying benefits. If the worker is off for 14 days or longer, then he or she is entitled to receive wage loss benefits for the first 7 days off work as well.
My employer isn't filing a claim for me, how do I do it myself?
Form WC-117, "Employee's Report of Claim" can be found on the Agency's website. Or you can contact the agency via phone and request the form be mailed to you. The agency will process the form upon receipt, and notify the employer and their insurance company that a claim has been filed.
How long do I have to file a claim?
You have up to two years from the date of injury, or the date the disability manifests itself, to bring a workers’ compensation claim. If you submit a claim after two years, Section 381(2) provides that in those cases the worker cannot receive past due benefits for more than two years back from the date he or she filed an application for hearing. However, the statute also states that the employee should provide notice of injury to the employer within 90 days of the injury. It cannot be stressed enough that you should report any accident at work, however minor, to your employer immediately to prevent possible delay or dispute of your claim.
What benefits can I receive?
The workers' compensation law provides a strict limit on the benefits that an individual can receive as the result of a job-related injury. A worker can only receive certain specified 1) wage loss benefits, 2) medical benefits, 3) rehabilitation benefits, and 4) burial allowance in the case of the employee’s death.