Delaware Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Workers’ compensation covers employees who are injured while doing their jobs. In Delaware, the Office of Workers’ Compensation oversees the system, which entitles injured workers to certain benefits, including medical coverage for their injury and payment for a portion of lost wages. An injured employee may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for single one-time injuries, as well as occupational diseases or injuries that occur over time. Claims can be filed for repetitive stress injuries, as well.
An injured worker needs to seek medical treatment and notify their employer of their injury as soon as possible. The employer is then required to report the injury to their insurance company. Most Delaware employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
In Delaware, workers’ compensation includes the following types of benefits and compensation.
- Medical. All reasonable medical expenses related to your injury should be covered 100%, including doctor visits, hospital stays and surgery.
- Temporary total disability. You can get paid for lost time. Workers’ compensation will pay you a percentage of your weekly wages while you are unable to work.
- Temporary partial disability. If you are only able to work part time or at a modified position that pays less, you can receive payments for part of the difference in your wages.
- Permanent impairment. If your injury leaves you with a permanent disability, you can receive payment for that. The amount depends on the severity of the impairment and the part of the body involved.
- Disfigurement. There are payments available for permanent disfigurement, for scars, burns, amputations, etc.
You may be able to get vocation rehabilitation if you are unable to return to your line of work and need training in a new area. Death benefits also are available (paid to dependents), including funeral expenses, in the case of a work-related fatality.
In Delaware, injured workers are permitted to choose their own doctor to treat them for their job injuries. The insurance company can require you to get an independent medical exam with a doctor of their choice. This often is used to dispute the opinion of your doctor on diagnosis, treatment or recovery status.
An injured worker seeking workers’ compensation benefits does not have to prove that their employer was negligent. A claim for workers’ compensation is not a lawsuit. In fact, an employee is not permitted to sue their employer for a work injury. They must go through the workers’ compensation system. Benefits are available regardless of fault. If you caused your accident, you still should be eligible, as long as you can prove that the injury was work related. In some cases, a lawsuit might be an option against a third party who was responsible for the injury.
The deadline for filing a claim for workers’ compensation in Delaware is two years from the date of the injury. An application for hearing is filed with the Office of Workers’ Compensation. In the case of occupation disease, you have one year from the date you knew or learned of the condition.
Hiring an attorney to help you pursue a workers’ compensation claim can make a big difference. It can increase the amount of compensation you are able to receive and reduce the amount of stress. It’s especially important to seek legal help if your injuries or benefits are denied or disputed. When it comes to negotiating with insurance companies, your best bet is a Delaware attorney who focuses their practice on helping injured workers and has done so for many years. The goal of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible and deny benefits altogether if they can. The goal of your attorney, on the other hand, is to get you full benefits under the law. Their job is to act in your best interests.
Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys charge what’s called a contingency fee. Their fee is completely dependent on what they are able to do for you. If you lose your case, you won’t pay any legal fees. If you awarded a settlement for permanent disability at the end of your claim, your attorney’s fee is a portion of the settlement amount. In Delaware, an attorney’s fee workers’ compensation is limited to 30% of the award. This usually comes out of a lump sum settlement or award for past due benefits. An attorney generally cannot take a fee from a client’s weekly benefit checks without special approval.
Most workers find that hiring an attorney leads to higher benefit and settlement amounts. If you need help finding the right attorney for your specific situation, please contact us. We only recommend attorneys who have the experience and reputation to give you the best chance at success.
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