Workers’ Compensation in Wisconsin: 4 FAQs
If you were injured while at work, or are suffering from a work-related illness, you may be confused and not know what to do. You think your employer should pay for your medical bills and lost wages, but don’t know how to go about collecting for your injuries and lost wages. Here are some frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation.
1. What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program designed to allow those who are injured on the job, or who contract a job-related illness, to receive compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages without having to prove their employer was negligent. In turn, the employer cannot avoid paying for the employee’s damages by claiming the employee was negligent and responsible for their own injuries.
Your employer pays the workers’ compensation insurance premiums. In general, all employers with three employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is true even if one or more of the employees are part-time. There are other requirements for different industries and depending on the amount of wages the employer pays in any quarter.
2. What Benefits are Available with Workers’ Compensation?
To receive any benefits, the injury or illness must be documented by a doctor. The following benefits are available to employees injured on the job or who have a work-related illness.
- All reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
- Payment for temporary wages lost which is equal to two-thirds of the employee’s regular wages.
- Benefits for permanent disability.
- Vocational rehabilitation. This is rehabilitation to help a person who has been disabled to return to gainful employment and to independent living.
These are the only benefits available. Under workers’ compensation, you are not entitled to collect for pain and suffering, emotional distress, punitive damages, or loss of consortium.
If a worker dies due to an injury or disease, death benefits will be paid to the survivors.
3. How do I Apply for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You must report your injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible after your injury or your diagnosis. You must seek medical treatment. Your employer may require you to seek treatment from a specific physician. Your employer will then notify the insurance carrier of your claim.
4. What is a Third-Party Claim or Lawsuit?
Although under the law, you cannot sue your employer, there are times when you can file a lawsuit against a third party who may also be liable for your injuries. For example:
- You used a defective product at work, and it was that defective product that caused your injury, meaning that someone in addition to your employer is responsible for your injury.
- You were driving on behalf of your employer when another vehicle crashed into you and was at fault for your injuries. You may sue the driver who caused your injuries.
If you have reason to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party in addition to filing a claim for workers’ compensation, in the personal injury lawsuit you may collect for pain and suffering and other damages that are unavailable through workers’ compensation.
Contact Novitzke, Gust, Sempf, Whitley & Bergmanis, Attorneys at Law
Our attorneys at NGSW&B provide workers’ compensation legal services to the greater Wisconsin community. We help you understand your rights and legal options following a work-related injury or illness. Contact us to learn more about your options following an injury or disease. You may also call us at 888-596-6049 to schedule your free initial consultation.