The following are some general (non-industry specific) frequently asked questions pertaining to the workers' compensation system.
Frequently asked questions are separated into Question and Answer expandable categories. Click on the question below to expand the section to view the answer.
Q1: I've been hurt at work. What do I do/to whom must I give notice of my accident and by what date?
A1: In general, you must give your employer or your supervisor written notice within 15 days after you knew that your job injury was connected to your job accident. If your injury or some other cause beyond your control prevents you from giving written notice within 15 days, the period may be extended up to 60 days. The WCA has a standard Notice of Accident form that employers are required to post and provide for employees to use. The written notice requirement is waived when an employer already has actual knowledge of an injury. That typically occurs when an employer supervisor or foreman witnesses the accident.
A2: Your employer should have the Workers' Compensation Administration poster located in a place readily available to you. On it you should find your employer's insurance information along with the Notice of Accident forms. If your employer does not have a poster, simply ask for the insurance information including a phone number of where you can reach the insurance adjuster.
A3: Your employer is required to report the accident to their workers' compensation insurance company within 72 hours after you notify your employer.
A4: The law allows your employer to initially select which doctor you are to see, or the employer can allow you to pick your own doctor. Regardless, the employer should notify you promptly of its decision to select the doctor, or to allow you to do so. If you are initially treated in an emergency room and then referred for follow up medical care, you should first check with your employer about who is to select the doctor before continuing treatment.
A5: If the employer selects the initial doctor, then you have the automatic right to change to a doctor of your own choosing after 60 days of treatment. Likewise, if you initially select the doctor, the employer can send you to a doctor of their choosing after 60 days of treatment. The party that institutes a change of doctors must notify the other party of the change by completing and sending to the other party a form called the "Notice of Change of Healthcare Provider." Any further changes in doctor selection must happen through agreement of both parties or by court order of a workers' compensation judge.
Q6: Who decides if my claim is accepted and if I am entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits?
A6: The employer and insurer will make that decision based on the information available, including any statements or information you have provided, as well as the opinions of the medical providers. You may direct any questions to the claims adjuster handling your case. In the event of a disagreement, you may contact an agency ombudsman to assist you by dialing 1-866-967-5667.
A7: If you are unable to work following your injury, workers' compensation insurance may pay up to 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage, called Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits. These benefits go into effect on the 8th day of non-work status, which do not have to occur consecutively. The first 7 days of non-work status are not payable unless you are off work more than 4 weeks.
A8: TTD benefits will stop either when you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), when your employer offers you work at your pre-injury wage, or when you accept employment with a different employer at your pre-injury wage. MMI is that point in time the doctor feels you are as good as you are going to get from medical treatment. If the doctor believes you have some remaining disability after you reach MMI, you may then be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits for a specified period of time, depending on the type of your injury.
A9: Your employer cannot fire you simply because you reported a workplace injury/accident. However, if you are unable to perform your job duties because of a workplace injury, your employer can replace you. Once you reach MMI and are released by the doctor to return to work, your employer may be required by law to offer to rehire you. There are certain conditions which you should know about. Please contact an ombudsman for more information.