For answers to frequently asked questions, click on a topic below. Additional FAQ forthcoming.
Do I have to notify my employer when I have been injured?
Injured workers are required to report all accidents to their employer within certain time parameters of the date of the accident. It must be reported to someone in the company who has a position of authority such as a foreman, company nurse, or personnel manager.
Should I file a claim under private insurance in lieu of workers' compensation coverage?
Even though your employer may encourage you to use your private insurance or group health insurance instead of workers' compensation, do not do so. There are several disadvantages to this alternative:
- It does not provide weekly benefits as great as those available under workers' compensation statutes
- You may have to pay a portion of the medical expenses
- Upon learning of workers' compensation coverage, your private health carrier may seek to recoup benefits paid on your behalf.
Should I submit a recorded statement to an employer or insurance company?
A recorded statement can be used as evidence against the worker at a hearing before a judge of workers' compensation claim. A statement could also jeopardize a third party case. If you are asked to give a statement, simply have the agent or adjuster call your attorney of record.
Should I sign any documents related to the injury?
Any documents a worker signs, however harmless they may appear at the time, could adversely affect the claim, especially if it is contested at a later date.
How do I qualify for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits?
There are medical and quarterly earning requirements for Social Security Disability benefits. Supplemental Security Income is a welfare based system and does not require quarterly earnings to establish eligibility.
What kind of evidence is used to evaluate and decide my disability benefit claim?
Medical evidence takes many forms, including notes from the physician, mental health records, blood work panels, and reports of imaging studies, such as MRI, CAT scan, and x-rays.
The records that carry the most weight, however, are those from a personal doctor, or treating physician. This is because a treating physician will generally know a claimant's medical condition better than any other source. The notes from the treating physician should be as detailed as possible, outlining symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis and functional restrictions to support the claim.
How long will it usually take to receive a decision on a Social Security Disability or SSI claim for benefits?
Social Security Disability and SSI cases can be won in as little as 30 days, or take as long as two years for benefits to be awarded. On average, a decision for an initial claim takes three to four months. There is really no way to predict how long a case will take.
If my social security disability or SSI claim is denied, what do I do?
If you are denied on your Social Security Disability or SSI benefit claim, you have certain time parameters in which to request an appeal. Your notice of denial provides information regarding the time allowed for filing an appeal. Failure to comply with the time requirements for an appeal will result in a waiver of benefits for the period claimed and could in certain instances prevent a future claim for disability benefits.
Should I provide a statement to an insurance company without a lawyer’s help?
It is in your best interest to only provide your contact information to an insurance company until you consult with a lawyer. The more significant your injuries, the more imperative it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement.
What is considered “pain and suffering?”
Pain and suffering includes harm caused by physical injury and mental anguish experienced through avoiding activities you engaged in prior to your accident and the potential of surgery.
What determines the amount I might recover?
Every case addresses three issues:
- Liability—establishing someone’s negligence
- Damages—the amount that will fairly and adequately compensate you for your injuries
- Source of collection—insurance or other assets from which damages can be recovered
How much is my case worth?
Many factors determine how much compensation you may receive, including the severity of your injuries, your past medical history, and the amount of insurance coverage of the responsibly party. An attorney can assess the potential value of your claim.
Will I have to go to trial to recover damages?
The vast majority of personal injury cases filed settle prior to trial.
What is a typical settlement amount?
An experienced personal injury lawyer reviews and interprets your case information to determine the appropriate value for your claim:
The goal is fair and adequate compensation for your injury and an experienced attorney will know what a reasonable jury would award. The strength of lay and expert witness testimony will likely influence the amount.
Can the insurance company refuse to pay my medical bills if my car was not damaged?
No. While the insurance company might try to draw a direct correlation between damage done to your car and the severity of your personal injury, it is possible that the body sustains damage even if the car did not. The reverse may also be true—a car might experience major impact but injury to its occupants may be minor in nature.
I fell and was injured. Who is held responsible for my injury?
A building owner is not liable for every injury that occurs on the property. To recover for an injury, the owner or operator of the business must have breached his duty to keep the premises reasonably safe and to warn of known dangers. An attorney can provide you with additional details about premises liability.