Steps to Take After an Accident
A workplace accident can result in serious injuries that can significantly impact an employee’s ability to work. Hospitalizations, surgeries, physical and cognitive therapy, prescription medications, and long recovery periods can quickly drain a victim’s financial resources.
Fortunately for workers in Delaware, Workers’ Compensation benefits are provided to cover medical expenses and lost wages while injured victims recover from their workplace accident.
The Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC have decades of experience helping injured workers in Delaware claim the maximum amount of Workers’ Compensation benefits available, following a workplace injury. The Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the firm work diligently to protect the rights of their clients, and to ensure that they receive the maximum amount of compensation available to them.
Who Is Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?
Almost all Delaware employees are covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. All employers in Delaware are required to carry this insurance at no cost to their employee.
There are a few exceptions to this mandate. Farm workers, home employees, independent contractors, and some real estate and government employees are not automatically covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. Employers can choose to offer Workers’ Compensation benefits to these exempt employees, but it is not a legal requirement.
An employer must provide Workers’ Compensation benefits to employees that were injured on the job, even if the accident was partially or fully their fault. Unless an employee acted recklessly or irresponsibly, an employer must provide compensation. Examples of reckless or irresponsible behavior that could result in a denial of benefits include employee intoxication at the time of an accident, or blatant and purposeful disregard for safety precautions while performing work tasks.
So long as an employee was on duty at work and was performing work related job tasks when the accident occurred, they will be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Even if an employee is away from the job site but is still on the clock and engaged in work-related activity, they are considered to be actively working.
For example, if an employee gets into a motor vehicle accident while delivering work related materials, they will still be entitled to benefits, even though they were away from their place of employment.
Some medical conditions, such as mesothelioma and carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive task related injuries, can develop over a long period of time. In some cases, a job-related illness may not appear until years after employment has terminated.
If the illness or injury can be proven to be a direct result of the victim’s past job duties or environment, the costs related to treating and managing the illness would be covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance.
Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Any employee that suffers an injury in a workplace accident should follow the Workers’ Compensation benefit process, even when the injury may initially appear to be minor.
The accident and the injury must be reported to the employer immediately. The injured worker has 90 days from the date of the accident to report the injury to the employer.
For cases of occupational illness, the employee must notify the employer within six months of their initial diagnosis, or from the time they became aware the illness was related to their employment.
Failure to meet these deadlines can result in forfeiture of benefits.
Employees must also file a petition with the Office of Workers’ Compensation within two years of the workplace accident. Those with occupational illnesses have one year from the date of their initial diagnosis to file their petition with the Office of Workers’ Compensation.
Proving an occupational disease was work related can be tricky, so it is essential to file a claim as soon as the illness is deemed to be work related.
Once a petition is filed with the Office of Workers’ Compensation, a hearing will be scheduled with the Industrial Accident Board at a location nearest to where the accident occurred. A benefit determination will be made within 30 days of this hearing.
An appeal to a denial of benefits, or to the amount of benefits provided, must be filed with the Superior Court within 30 days of this decision. These deadlines are solid, and failure to meet the time limits can result in a denial of benefits.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Help Injured Workers Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know has been injured at work, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. The experienced team of Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC can help you claim the maximum amount of benefits available to you under the law.
Call us at 302-888-1221 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. We serve clients across Delaware, including Wilmington, Middletown, Newark and Dover, as well the greater Philadelphia region including Delaware County, Chester County, and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.