When you file for workers’ compensation in Wisconsin, it is up to you to make sure you receive the benefit you deserve. Your employer (or its insurance company) will fight your claim by all means available and will not hesitate to deny benefits if it has any grounds to do so.
As a result, when filing for workers’ compensation, you must make informed decisions. This means relying on accurate information and avoiding mistakes based on common myths about injured workers’ legal rights. Here is the truth behind 10 common myths about filing for workers’ compensation in Wisconsin:
Myth #1: Workers’ Compensation Covers You if You Are Unable to Work Due to an Injury
Truth: Workers’ compensation only covers injuries suffered in the “course of employment” for eligible employees.
One of the most common myths about workers’ compensation is that you can file a claim any time you suffer an injury that prevents you from working. While Social Security disability covers injured workers regardless of how they get hurt, workers’ compensation does not. To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must suffer your injury in the “course of employment,” and you must be an eligible employee under Wisconsin law.
Myth #2: You Must Be Doing Your Job When You Get Injured to File for Workers’ Compensation
Truth: “Course of employment” is not limited to performing your job duties.
While you must suffer your injury in the “course of employment” to qualify for workers’ compensation, this does not mean you need to do your job when you get injured. Eligible employees can also file claims for benefits when they slip on the way to the bathroom or suffer injuries in other job-related accidents.
Myth #3: Your Employer Can Tell You Where To Go for Treatment
Truth: In Wisconsin, injured workers have the right to choose their medical providers when they file for workers’ compensation.
Wisconsin law provides injured workers with the absolute right to choose their doctors when they get injured on the job. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) explains, “An injured worker has the right to a first and second choice of doctors licensed to practice and practice in this state.” If your employer tries to tell you where to go for treatment, you should view this as a red flag and seek advice from a local workers’ compensation lawyer promptly.
Myth #4: You Will Automatically Receive Medical Benefits if You Get Injured on the Job
Truth: Workers’ compensation benefits are not automatic. You must file a valid claim on time and be prepared to fight for the benefits you deserve.
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system in Wisconsin. This means eligible employees can obtain benefits without needing to prove the cause of their injuries (other than proving that they suffered their injuries in the “course of employment”).
However, this does not mean that you will receive medical benefits automatically. To make sure you receive these benefits, you should report your injury promptly and ensure your doctor accepts workers’ compensation insurance. As you move forward, you will need to work with your lawyer to ensure you receive the full benefits you deserve.
Myth #5: All Employees Receive the Same Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Truth: If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, your benefits will be calculated based on your medical needs, your wage or salary, and other relevant factors.
Not all employees are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits. To ensure you receive the full benefits you deserve, you will need to work with a lawyer who can help you obtain full medical coverage and accurately calculate your disability benefits based on the effects of your injury, your “average weekly wage,” and all other relevant factors.
Myth #6: You Aren’t Eligible for Workers’ Compensation if You Are Still Able To Work
Truth: Eligible employees can obtain medical benefits regardless of their ability to work, and partial disability benefits are available in many cases.
You do not have to be out of work to file for workers’ compensation in Wisconsin. At a minimum, you are entitled to medical benefits to cover the cost of your diagnosis and treatment. If you can only work in a limited capacity, you may also be entitled to partial disability benefits.
Myth #7: An “Independent Medical Examination” is Independent
Truth: “Independent medical examinations” are designed to help employers, and insurance companies prematurely terminate injured workers’ benefits.
After filing for workers’ compensation, your employer’s insurance company may ask you to submit an “independent medical examination.” Despite their name, these exams are not independent, and if you aren’t careful, you could lose the benefits you deserve.
Myth #8: If Your Employer Denies Benefits, Your Workers’ Comp Claim is Over
Truth: Wrongful workers’ compensation denials are common. If your employer denies your claim, you should speak with a lawyer about filing an appeal.
If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, you should not accept this as the outcome. Unfortunately, wrongful denials are common, and many injured workers find themselves needing to file an appeal.
Myth #9: You Don’t Need a Lawyer to File for Workers’ Compensation
Truth: While this is technically true, there are many reasons to put an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side.
Although you have the option of trying to handle your workers’ compensation claim on your own, this is not your best option. There are many ways an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you.
Myth #10: Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Wisconsin is Expensive
Truth: Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer costs nothing out of pocket and hiring an experienced lawyer can help maximize your take-home recovery.
When you seek legal representation for your workers’ compensation claim, an experienced lawyer will only take your case if the lawyer believes he or she can help maximize the amount you take home. You should not have to pay anything out of pocket and should not incur any legal fees unless your lawyer helps you collect benefits.
Request a Free Consultation with a Madison Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Do you need to know more about filing for workers’ compensation in Wisconsin? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly. For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Madison workers’ compensation lawyer, call 608-257-0440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.