Were you injured while working in West Bend, Hartford, Slinger, Jackson, Kewaskum, Campbellsport, Fredonia, Mayville, Horicon, Hustisford, Richfield or anywhere in Washington County? If you were, Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg are available to talk to you at absolutely no charge.
Common questions if you have been injured at work:
What Should I do if I am Injured At Work?
If you are injured at work you must report the injury to a supervisor and get medical attention from a medical provider as soon as possible. That is your right. To make a workers compensation claim it is necessary that the injury occurred while working within the scope of your employment. It is essential that your injury is reported. Many times workers believe that their injury will “go away” and do not report it. Workers compensation cases can become more difficult if injuries are not timely reported. Insurance companies often use a delay in reporting to deny compensation. If you have been injured at work it is important that you consult with a qualified workers compensation attorney. At Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg you will speak directly to one of us.
Will My Medical Bills be Covered by Workers Compensation Insurance?
If you have reported the injury your medical bills will probably be covered. The law requires the workers compensation carrier to pay for the reasonable and necessary medical expenses that result from a work injury or illness. The law also allows you to see your doctor of choice and get a second opinion. You should provide patient accounts with your health insurance coverage information, as well. If patient accounts receives payment from your health insurance and if your health insurer later learns that workers compensation is responsible, your health insurer will be able to request payment from the workers compensation carrier. If your medical bills are not being paid you should immediately contact Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg for a free consultation about your rights and what steps you should take.
What Happens After I Report My Injury to My Employer?
Once your employer gets your report of injury, they must contact their workers compensation carrier. A formal Report of Injury should also be completed by your employer or its workers compensation carrier and be filed with the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. If your employer is self-insured they will report your injury to a claims handling company. Generally, all Wisconsin employers must have worker’s compensation coverage for its employees. The few exceptions to that rule are companies with less than 3 employees, some farmers and some volunteer organizations.
If neither a claims office nor worker’s compensation carrier contacts you by letter or phone after your injury, you should contact Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg.
What Will I Receive for Benefits if I am Unable to Work?
The law states that if you are injured during the course of your employment you have the right to receive lost wages in the form of temporary total disability. Your reasonable and necessary medical expenses must be paid. If you suffer a permanent injury you will have the right to make a claim for the percentage of permanent partial disability that your doctor determines that you suffered. If you are unable to return to your position you may also be entitled to receive retraining or monies for your loss of earning capacity.
Will I Be Able to Receive Compensation if My Injury is Permanent?
If a doctor concludes after all medical treatment has been tried that is available to make you better that your injury has plateaued and that the injury is permanent, you will be able to make a claim for the percentage of disability to the specific location of your body that was injured. The amount is dependent on the percentage assigned by your doctor and the body part ie: hand, leg, shoulder, back. The Wisconsin statutes have specific charts that identify the body part and the percentage of loss indicated by your doctor. It is likely that the worker’s compensation carrier will notify you that you must be seen by their doctor. This is commonly called an Independent medical evaluation. If you have been assigned a percentage of loss or permanent injury by your doctor and have not been paid you should immediately contact an attorney to discuss your rights. You may call Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg for a free, no obligation appointment.
What Should I do if My Doctor Wants me to Take Time Off Work and My Employer Wants me To Return to Work?
It is common that an injured worker’s doctor states that the worker cannot work, but the employer’s doctor says otherwise. In that situation you should return to work. If you cannot perform the work you must then immediately report that fact to your supervisor. It could be that your doctor or the employer’s doctor states that you can return to work, but you believe you cannot work. In that situation you should, again, attempt to return to work and report any discomfort or problems you are having to your supervisor. Your attempts to return to work, if properly documented by your employer, will be evidence at a later date that you were cooperative and wanted to return to work.
Another situation that could arise is your doctor stating you can return to work with light duty limitations. This would mean that your doctor has advised that you refrain from doing certain activities while at work. This could be lifting, bending, reaching or simply standing. If your employer does not have a position for you to perform you cannot return to work and according to the law you are to continue to receive temporary total disability benefits. If you have any questions concerning your rights or are not receiving compensation you should contact an attorney or call Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg for a free, no obligation consultation.
What if I Am Off of Work For An Extended Period of Time, I Lose My Job or My Employer Will Not Hire me Back?
An employer is not required to hold a position open for you indefinitely. An employer also is not required to create a new position that fits your restrictions. If an employer has a position that falls within your restrictions, that employer should offer you that position. Depending on the type of injury and your age you may be eligible for additional loss of earnings claims or retraining. If your employer, without reasonable cause, refuses to rehire you when suitable employment exists within the company, you may be able to collect lost wages for up to one year.
Is There a Way to Obtain Vocational Counseling or Retraining?
If you cannot return to work because of an injury you suffered while working you may be eligible for vocational retraining and placement.
If you have received restrictions from your doctor you must provide those restrictions to your employer so a decision can be reasonably made if a position is available. If your employer does not have “suitable” employment you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation. A suitable position must pay 90% of your date of injury wage and meet your restrictions.
Your doctor may assist you with qualifying you for retraining benefits. In that instance you should contact the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. If you qualify you will receive vocational services from either a public or private vocational program. If you have questions concerning your rights to be retrained or to participate through the Department of vocational rehabilitation program you should contact a workers compensation attorney at Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg.
What if I or a Co-Worker Were the Cause of My Injury and Not My Employer?
To receive worker’s compensation benefits the cause of your injury is not an issue if you were acting within the scope of your employment at the time you were injured. It makes no difference if you injured yourself or if you were injured due to the negligence of a co-employee. One of the exceptions to the rule of co-employee negligence can occur when a co-employee is operating a vehicle and is negligent in causing an accident. If you were injured in a vehicle and the accident was caused by the co-employee you should contact Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg to learn your rights. You may be able to make a claim for your injuries and damages that far exceeds your worker’s compensation benefits.
My Employer Knew Someone Would Get Hurt. Can I Sue My Employer?
An employee in Wisconsin is almost always prevented from making a claim against their employer for physical injuries suffered while working. An injured worker may bring a legal action directly against persons who are NOT his co-employees or if his injuries were caused by a manufacturing defect or the fault of a contractor at a work site. These injuries are said to be caused by “third parties.” Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg will investigate and determine if any third parties may exist which could be responsible for your injuries. If a third party claim can be made and you are seriously injured you may be entitled to significant compensation.
How Will I Pay For An Attorney Who Brings A Claim For Worker’s Compensation?
If you have been denied benefits form the worker’s compensation carrier the law allows you to hire an attorney based on a 20% contingency fee. This means that the attorney will receive as his fee 20% of the recovery that you receive. If the attorney does not win your case you will owe the attorney nothing.
Wisconsin Injury Lawyers -
Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg, LLP
Helping victims for over 25 Years.