With flu season approaching and the previous flu epidemics around the country, absences from work due to the flu are something that may be on your mind. Indeed, the flu epidemic last year resulted in an undeniable impact in the workforce, particularly in health-related professions. So, how easy is it to make a workers compensation claim for the flu? Let our Joplin workers compensation attorney discuss this issue.
The impact of a flu epidemic on the workplace
During most flu epidemics, businesses and schools have to deal with unprecedented absences, with some businesses closing or limiting their operations. The problem that workers often face is the inability to take off even if they are diagnosed with the flu. So, infected workers often go to work anyway because there is no way for them to be compensated for their absence. That is not a good situation because the flu is highly contagious, especially in close quarters. If the flu is untreated, because employees can’t take off work to seek medical treatment, that can result in health complications. If you are considering filing a workers comp claim because you contracted the flu from work, speak to our Joplin workers compensation attorney for advice.
Report your injury to your employer within the time limit
One mistake many people make when it comes to workers compensation claims is confusing the need to report your injury to your employer with actually filing a worker compensation claim. If you do not report your injury to your employer, or if you wait too long to do so, you may be abandoning your claim. Under Arkansas workers compensation law, you are required to report your on-the-job injury immediately. Once you notify your employer, they are then required to report the injury to the insurance company within ten days.
Your notice should be in writing and should include the date, time and place of your injury. The notice typically needs to be delivered to your supervisor or another appropriate officer of your employer. Your notice should also describe the nature and severity of the injury. Keep in mind that failure to timely report your work-related injury could result in losing your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
Your worker’s compensation claim must also be timely filed
Once again, reporting your injury to your employer is not the same as filing a workers compensation claim. Generally speaking, a workers’ compensation claim must be filed within 2 years of the date of the injury. There are a few exceptions where that deadline can be extended. However, it is never wise to delay filing your claim because you risk waiving your right to benefits. Regardless, if you were treated for a work-related injury within the last three years and you have not yet received a lump sum settlement, then you should seek the advice of a Joplin workers compensation attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.
Determining the amount to accept in settlement of your claim
Determining the value of a Workers Compensation settlement is quite different from a personal injury claim, for instance. The settlement amount has nothing to do with pain and suffering and everything to do with future benefits. In most cases, a Workers Compensation settlement will be based on two factors: the amount of Workers Compensation benefits to which you may be entitled in the future, and the likelihood that you might actually receive those benefits.
When you settle you will likely lose your weekly benefits
If you settle your Workers Compensation claim, you will typically stop receiving your weekly benefits payments for that specific injury. The reason is that the settlement of your Workers Compensation case closes that portion of your claim. It is possible that you may be eligible for compensation for the time you were unable to work as a result of the injuries you sustained. The specific amount of the compensation is ordinarily a percentage of your wages at the time of your injury. In most states, the percentage of compensation is 66 2/3%. You could also be eligible for wages equaling the amount of your employee benefits.
Your medical payments will likely to continue
Some states allow Workers Compensation insurers to terminate medical benefits when a claim has been settled. There are other states that allow you to continue to receive medical payment benefits after you settle your Workers Compensation claim. But, even in states that allow your medical benefits to continue, some insurers are unwilling to do so after the claim has been settled. If this is the case, it may be necessary for you to file a separate claim to force the insurer to pay. A Joplin workers compensation attorney can help.
If you have questions regarding Workers Compensation matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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