According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), almost 72,000 Wisconsin employees were injured or became ill on the job. Of these injury and illness cases reported by Wisconsin private employers, approximately 37,000 were severe and required missing work, being transferred to another job, or having medically prescribed physical or time restrictions. Getting injured on the job can be a devastating experience. In addition to coping with pain and amassing medical bills, you may be unable to work due to your injuries.
When you suffer a workplace injury, it should be as easy as filing a workers’ compensation claim to get the benefits you deserve. Yet, it isn’t always that simple. In order to get the compensation you deserve to make up for your lost income, you should have an experienced team of lawyers on your side. Be sure you have the legal representation you deserve if you sustain an injury at work. Our legal team at Groth Law Firm has years of experience representing employees in workers compensation cases. We can work quickly and professionally to get you compensation for your injuries. Contact us at (877) 375-7001 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Milwaukee workers’ compensation lawyers.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance administered by the government that the majority of Wisconsin employers must purchase. When an employer doesn’t purchase worker’s comp insurance as required by law, Wisconsin’s Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) pays worker’s comp benefits on valid claims. When you file a worker’s compensation claim and the carrier approves the claim, you may receive the following benefits:
Under Wisconsin’s Workers’ Compensation Act, employees who are injured at work or suffer from an occupational disease are entitled to medical care. Workers comp covers all medical, surgical, and hospital treatment related to the injury or illness including doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medication, medical and surgical supplies, crutches and artificial limbs, training to use any prosthetic limbs, and lost time and travel expenses for going to and from the doctor.
Wisconsin workers’ compensation disability benefits are meant to replace lost wages because of an occupational injury or illness. When you file a claim you are paid two-thirds of your average weekly wage, but not over the maximum amount which changes each year. Injured workers could not collect more than $961 per week for disability benefits in 2017. The length of time which you receive disability benefits depends on which one of the four disability categories fits your situation:
- Temporary total disability means you are totally unable to work, but only for a certain amount of time.
- Temporary partial disability means that you can’t do all of your job, but you are able to perform some duties and you may be able to return to work completely after a certain period of time.
- Permanent total disability means you will never again be able to return to work.
- Permanent partial disability means that you are permanently disabled, but still able to perform some of your tasks.
If you belong in any of these categories, you qualify for disability benefits. The legal team at Groth Law Firm, S.C., will be able to determine which category is best for you, so you get the best possible compensation for your circumstances.
Under Wisconsin law, certain injuries and situations might entitle you to additional workers’ comp benefits. They include:
- Disfigurement. If a worker becomes permanently disfigured to the point that they cannot return to work, they might receive additional compensation based on the consideration of the employee’s age, education, training, experience, earnings, occupation and potential change in their profession.
- Exposure to hazardous or toxic materials. If an employee who works with hazardous materials demonstrates some physical changes caused by the materials that those materials may cause disability with continued exposure, he or she might receive additional compensation.
- Multiple injuries. If an employee suffers more than one permanent injury in a workplace accident, weekly benefits might be extended or increased.
When an employee’s work accident results in a serious injury that prevents him or her from returning to a previous position, he or she might be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. These services intend to help injured employees gain meaningful employment. Services might include career planning, job placement, or job retraining.
Workers’ compensation in Wisconsin provides wrongful death benefits to surviving family members when a work-related accident causes death. Benefits include:
- Monthly benefits to the surviving spouse that might be reassigned to surviving children if the spouse remarries.
- Benefits for dependent children under 18 who were living with the deceased employee might receive additional benefits.
- Parents or other relatives might receive partial or full death benefits if there is no surviving spouse or children.
- Burial expenses
When Do You Need a Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation?
Not all injuries at the workplace require legal representation, but some scenarios may require the assistance of a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney to protect your rights and ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Some examples include:
- Your workers’ comp claim was denied.
- Your employer has retaliated against you for filing a claim.
- Your injury resulted from a defective product or hazardous chemical, so you need a lawyer to initiate a lawsuit against the manufacturer, wholesaler, and/or retailer.
- You were injured while working at a job site that isn’t owned by your employer.
- Your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance.
- You were injured in an accident that occurred in a company vehicle.
- You have a preexisting condition underlying the same area of the body that you injured at work.
- The insurance company won’t approve a necessary medical treatment.
What Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Do?
Employers and their workers’ comp carriers regularly deny valid claims to avoid paying out benefits, leaving injured workers to deal with a complicated appeals process. Workers’ compensation lawyers help injured workers get the compensation they deserve whether through the claims and appeal process or through a personal injury lawsuit. Specific things that a competent workers’ comp lawyer may include:
A workers’ compensation attorney will investigate your accident and gather evidence to support your claim. This includes obtaining medical records and medical opinions from the doctors that are treating your injury. This might also include lining up an independent medical examination to bolster medical documentation of your injuries, taking witness statements about your accident, and gathering information about poor training or safety practices at your place of employment.
A dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance carriers to maximize your benefits and they know how to deal with insurance companies’ tricks and strategies. Your workers’ comp attorney will handle all communication with the insurance company while you focus on healing and recovery. Additionally, he or she will examine a variety of factors to place a monetary value on your claim, such as the severity of your injuries, your limitations, your wages, and whether you have a permanent disability.
When settlement is not an option, you will be required to attend an administrative workers’ comp hearing in front of a judge. Your attorney will represent you at these hearings where they will present the evidence they gathered from the investigation. Representation also includes dealing with all of the paperwork required for the hearing. The judge will rule on your claim. If the verdict is not in your favor, your attorney will assist you with the appeals process.
Some workplace injury scenarios give rise to a personal injury lawsuit against a third party. Your attorney will advise you on what applies to your individual situation and will remain prepared to aggressively litigate your case in the courtroom when the defendant doesn’t want to offer you full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Skilled Milwaukee Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
At Groth Law Firm, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial stress that comes with getting injured on the job. We offer free consultations to discuss your accident and determine the best course of action for your particular circumstances. If you choose one of our Milwaukee workers’ compensation lawyers to represent you, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis. This means that you don’t need to pay upfront or out-of-pocket. Instead, your lawyer will attack attorney fees from any settlement or verdict in your favor.
If you were injured at your workplace or a loved one died because of a workplace injury, you deserve benefits that give you time to heal and keep you solid financial ground. If your injury resulted in a permanent disability, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden because you cannot perform your job anymore. You deserve benefits and compensation to ease your financial stress and potentially give you the skills to gain meaningful employment at another job.
Contact Groth Law Firm online today or call at (414) 240-0707 to schedule a free consultation so you can learn about the ways we might be able to help you with your worker’s compensation claim.