Common Misconceptions About Workers Compensation

When an employer suffers injuries or illnesses from their job, the workers compensation system can provide much needed benefits and protection. Despite its importance, there are numerous misconceptions about workers compensation that can lead to confusion and frustration for both employees and employers. In this article our workers compensation benefits lawyer aims to dispel some of the most common myths surrounding workers compensation benefits and provide clarity on what workers can expect if they need to file a claim.

Misconception 1 – Workers Compensation Is Only For Severe Injuries

One prevalent myth is that workers compensation only covers severe or catastrophic injuries. In reality, workers compensation benefits are available for a wide range of work-related injuries and illnesses, regardless of their severity. From repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome to minor accidents that cause temporary disability, workers have the right to file a claim for any job-related injury or illness.

Misconception 2 – Filing A Claim Will Get You Fired

Many employees fear that filing a workers compensation claim will result in retaliation or even termination. However, it is illegal for employers to fire or retaliate against employees for filing a legitimate workers compensation claim. Workers have the right to seek compensation for their injuries without fear of losing their jobs. Employers who engage in such retaliatory practices can face serious legal consequences.

Misconception 3 – You Can’t Choose Your Own Doctor

Many believe that an injured employee must be seen by a doctor chosen by their employer or the insurance company, which is another common misconception. While it’s true that some states have specific rules about the initial medical evaluation, employees often have the right to seek a second opinion or choose their own healthcare provider after the initial assessment. It’s important for injured workers to be aware of their rights and the regulations in their state regarding medical treatment under workers compensation.

Misconception 4 – Pre-existing Conditions Disqualify You

Some workers believe that having a pre-existing condition will disqualify them from receiving workers compensation benefits. This is not the case. If a work-related injury aggravates or worsens a pre-existing condition, the employee is still entitled to compensation. The key factor is whether the job-related activity contributed to the injury or illness, not whether the worker had a pre-existing condition.

Misconception 5 – Workers Compensation Claims Are Always Approved

It’s a common belief that workers compensation claims are automatically approved once filed. However, claims can be denied for various reasons, such as lack of evidence, missed deadlines, or disputes over the cause of the injury. It’s crucial for employees to provide thorough documentation and adhere to all procedural requirements to improve the chances of a successful claim.

Misconception 6 – Workers Compensation Pays Full Salary

Many workers assume that workers compensation benefits will cover their entire salary while they are unable to work. In reality, workers compensation typically covers a portion of the worker’s lost wages, usually around two-thirds of their average weekly wage, subject to state-specific limits. While this provides essential financial support, it may not completely replace the worker’s regular income.

Misconception 7 – You Can Only File A Claim Immediately After The Injury

Some employees mistakenly believe that they can only file a workers compensation claim immediately after the injury occurs. While it is crucial to report the injury to the employer as soon as possible, workers often have a specific period within which they can file a claim. This period varies by state but usually allows for some flexibility, especially in cases where symptoms of an injury or illness develop gradually over time.

Misconception 8 – Workers Compensation Covers All Expenses

While workers compensation benefits cover many expenses, including medical bills and a portion of lost wages, they may not cover all costs associated with a work-related injury. For example, compensation for pain and suffering is typically not included in workers compensation benefits. Employees may need to explore additional legal avenues if they seek compensation beyond what is provided by workers compensation.

Setting The Record Straight

Employees can feel more confident and informed when they need to file a claim when they understand the realities of the workers compensation system. Dispelling these common misconceptions ensures that workers can access the benefits they are entitled to without unnecessary fear or confusion. Attorneys like those at Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. can attest to the importance of accurate information and proper guidance in navigating the workers compensation system. By knowing the truth about workers compensation, employees can better protect their rights and well-being in the workplace.