What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated program that provides financial benefits to employees who are unable to work following an injury or illness suffered on the job. It’s designed to help employees with their medical bills and living expenses and to legally protect employers. In Wisconsin, nearly all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees.
What’s considered an on-the-job injury?
Any injury or illness that occurs at an employee’s workplace and during his or her normal working hours is generally covered under workers’ compensation laws. Other cases that may be covered can include:
- Lunch breaks
Workers’ compensation laws may apply during your lunch break if your accident or illness occurs in a workplace cafeteria or on company premises.
- Company events
If you’re hurt during a company sponsored event, such as a party, recreational activity, or training seminar, you may still be covered under workers’ compensation laws.
- Work-related travel
Injuries suffered during your commute to work usually aren’t covered by workers’ compensation laws—however, if your job requires you to travel for business and you get hurt, you can receive benefits.
The Appleton workers’ compensation lawyers at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham are familiar with these laws, and we can help you determine if you’re eligible to receive benefits for your work-related injury.
What should I do if I’ve been hurt on the job?
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, the first thing you should do is report your accident to your employer. Find your supervisor or the manager on duty and inform him or her about your injury, including how and where it happened.
Second, you should seek medical attention, even if your injuries don’t seem to be severe. Some injuries may take time to occur, and others can get worse over time. Your doctor can provide you with a copy of your medical report, which can be useful when building your case. Your doctor also can provide a return-to-work report stating your work limitations. A copy of this report should also be given to your employer.
Finally, you should contact a qualified Appleton workers’ compensation lawyer. At Sigman Janssen, we’ve been helping injured victims move on with their lives since 1925. Let us start helping you today—dial (877) 888-5201 or complete our free initial consultation form.
Can I sue my employer if my injury was their fault?
No. Employees can’t sue their employers in most cases, even if their accidents were due to their employers’ negligence or a coworker’s negligence.
Can my employer fire me as a result of my work injury?
No. If you are fired after your injury, and you can prove that you are fired solely because of your injury, you have the ability to make a claim against your employer for the firing. However, the employer has the ability to defend the firing by saying it was for a reason other than the work injury.
What benefits can I receive?
There are four basic types of benefits you can claim from workers’ compensation:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of any examinations, prescription medications, or surgical treatments your injury or illness requires.
- Temporary partial or total disability, which are payments that cover two-thirds of your wages until your doctor clears you to start working again.
- Permanent partial or total disability, which are payments that compensate you for the loss of part or all of your ability to work and earn a living.
- Retraining benefits, which go toward classes and training at a vocational school to help you prepare for and obtain new and suitable employment for your level of disability.
How can a lawyer help me?
Receiving benefits under workers’ compensation laws can sometimes be difficult. Not only do you have to prove that your illness or injury is related to your job, but you also must prove your level of disability and your inability to continue working.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys in Appleton know how complicated the claims process can be after a workplace injury, but we have the skill, the knowledge, and the resources to help you. We’re dedicated to handling all of your legal matters and resolving your case while you concentrate on getting better. If you’ve been hurt on the job, let Sigman Janssen fight for your rights.
Should I use my health insurance to pay medical bills while my case is pending?
Yes. In most cases, your health insurance provider will cover your medical bills, but they also are entitled to be repaid if you either win at a workers’ compensation hearing or settle your case prior to the hearing.
If my case settles, how long will it take for me to get my workers’ compensation benefits?
Generally, it takes four to six weeks. However, your employer or their insurance company could appeal the workers’ compensation judge’s decision. In fact, both sides can appeal a decision up to four times.
Will I get all my settlement in one lump sum?
Not always. In larger settlements, the state will require that some of the settlement be deposited in a bank account, and you would be allowed monthly withdrawals of that money. The amount of the monthly withdrawal is typically a little more than $1,000, but it can vary from case to case.
If I settle my claim, does the insurance company still have to pay my future bills?
Generally, if you settle your claim, it’s a complete settlement for all past and future claims related to your injury. However, if the insurance company settles, they may want a complete settlement known as a full and final compromise, and future bills would be up to you.
Where will my hearing be held?
If you have a hearing, you can request that it be held in most major cities in Wisconsin, including Oshkosh, Green Bay, Superior, Wausau, and Eau Claire. Hearings also can be held in workers’ compensation offices in Madison, Milwaukee, and Appleton.
Will my doctor have to testify?
No. In Wisconsin, the Workers’ Compensation Division rarely requests testimony from medical doctors or other experts. The judges typically make decisions based upon your testimony, the employer’s testimony, and written reports from experts.
Who will be at the hearing?
Your hearing will be attended by yourself, your attorney, the attorney from the insurance company, a workers’ compensation judge, and a reporter who will record each side’s testimony. Sometimes employers or other employees also attend the hearing.
Where can I find the laws governing workers’ compensation?
There are generally three places where you can find laws governing workers’ compensation:
- Wisconsin Statutes under Section 102,
- The Wisconsin Administrative Law Code,
- and in case laws as decided by the Wisconsin Courts.
However, these laws can be very complicated, and its important to consult with a lawyer about any interpretation of workers’ compensation law.
Where can I get more information regarding Wisconsin workers’ compensation?
You can contact the Workers’ Compensation Division at P.O. Box 7901, Madison, Wisconsin 53707. You also can find information regarding workers’ compensation and download forms for your claim on the Workers’ Compensation Department website.