No one wants to be injured at work, but should it happen, it’s important to know what your options are. One of the most well-known forms of assistance for those injured at work is workers’ compensation, which is available to workers from nearly every industry. However, it’s very common for these claims to be denied, especially for women – which is why it’s essential that if you’re hurt at work, you should seek the help of a qualified attorney. Today we’ll discuss what workers’ compensation is, what it covers, and why women especially should work with a personal injury lawyer when seeking workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation is made to cover medical bills and lost wages after an injury
Workers’ compensation, formerly known as workman’s compensation, got its start in the railroad and maritime industries, two male-dominated occupations known for high injury rates and extremely difficult, labor-intensive work. Over time, workers’ compensation has expanded to cover nearly every industry, and it is now a mandatory form of insurance required by almost every business. Workers do not have to contribute to this fund: it is paid for entirely by the company. In addition, workers’ compensation does not require any proof of negligence on behalf of the employee or the company, only that the person was injured and that the injury is a direct result of their responsibilities on the job.
This form of insurance guarantees that workers who are injured on the job will receive assistance for costs related to medical treatment, lost work, rehabilitation, and any retraining necessary should they no longer be able to perform their current duties. Injured workers can receive a lump sum settlement or a structured settlement, which pays out over time, depending on what they select.
Unlike a personal injury lawsuit settlement, workers’ compensation does not pay for emotional damages, and it will not cover the entirety of lost wages; this means that injured employees will need to budget carefully to adjust to their temporarily lowered income. In addition, there may be requirements that the injured worker can only receive medical care from a select list of doctors or hospitals rather than choosing their own, and it may not pay for alternative treatments, such as talk therapy or acupuncture.
These restrictions make it essential that those injured at work talk to a personal injury attorney before accepting workers’ compensation – and this is especially true for women, who may have a harder time getting their workers’ compensation claim approved.
Women face discrimination even in workers’ compensation
While any Illinoisan injured at work should seek the advice of a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney, it is especially essential for women to do so. Discrimination against women is evident even in those who have their workers’ compensation claims approved, and some companies may attempt to intimidate women into not entering a claim, insisting that their injuries are not severe enough to require compensation.
Despite the fact that nearly every worker, regardless of industry, can apply for workers’ compensation, there is a long-held belief – perhaps because of the previous name of “workman’s compensation” – that this type of insurance is reserved only for those who work in more male-dominated professions such as construction. This may even make women hesitant to apply at all thanks to the general perception of workers’ compensation.
There is also the fact that women tend to be injured in slightly different ways than men. While of course women are also prone to workplace accidents that can be proven as one singular event, many of the claims made by women for workers’ compensation are from injuries caused by repetitive motions, such as lifting heavy objects over a long period of time. This can make it much harder to prove that the injuries were incurred as a result of one’s responsibilities at work.
With all of these factors working against women receiving compensation for their work-related injuries, it’s essential that if you’re hurt on the job, you contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for assistance. Firstly, they can help you decide whether you should apply for workers’ compensation or if you should open a personal injury lawsuit: it is usually not possible to apply for both, and you may have better chances of receiving compensation if you seek a personal injury settlement instead of workers’ compensation. For example, if your injury was the result of negligence on behalf of your employer, you may wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit instead, as this will help you receive a better settlement.
If you do choose to pursue a worker’s compensation claim, they can guide you through the process of applying for workers’ compensation and, if you are denied, help prove your claim to the insurance company. A great law firm has resources that can support your claim, such as submitting expert testimony that your injuries are directly related to your employment.
While everyone should advocate for themselves, sometimes we need a bit more help than our male counterparts due to discrimination. If you’re injured at work, be sure to reach out to a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago to receive the settlement you deserve.