I am Injured and Collecting Wisconsin Workers Compensation Benefits

I am Injured and Collecting Wisconsin Workers Compensation Benefits

I am injured and collecting Wisconsin Workers Compensation Benefits, my Workers Compensation Adjuster says that I do not need an attorney, is this true?

While it is true that many workers compensation programs were originally developed to relieve the injured worker from the cost of hiring an attorney, that only applies in a perfect world where the work injury claim has been fully conceded/accepted and the worker is getting ALL the benefits that he is entitled, without argument, delay, or hassle from the workers compensation insurance carrier.

Sadly, rarely does this “Perfect World” happen when a Wisconsin worker is injured.  The workers compensation insurance carrier always has an eye out looking for an opportunity to deny the claim, lessen its exposure and responsibility.  With that mindset, the insurance company looks for any reason to not pay, delay and ultimately find a reason to deny the claim.  These carriers have many tricks up their sleeves to either never pay or stop benefits.  They may claim that the injury never occurred at work, or that the injury is personal to the worker, and therefore not related to what happened on the job.  Or, they may claim that the worker did not report the injury timely, or that the factual rendition of how the injury occurred is not true.  Sometimes, the carrier just ignores the workers and does not even respond to the report of injury and just hopes that the worker will just go away.  Mays Law Office has seen and heard it all from workers compensation insurance carriers.  When hiring an attorney, the injured worker needs to make sure that they choose an attorney with years of experience representing injured workers and aggressively advocates to ensure that the worker is getting every benefit they are entitled to under the law.

Even if you are not quite ready to hire an attorney, at the very least, make a call to Mays Law Office for a free consultation to discuss with Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays if you are being treated lawfully by the insurance company and getting every monetary benefit under the law.

During most consultations, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays can spot concerning issues, such as advising on benefits not told by the workers compensation insurance carrier.  Such benefits, like reimbursement of .51 cents a mile for mileage for medical treatment, therapy, and pharmacy runs.  Most injured workers are never told that they have to make the request to the claims adjuster for reimbursement of mileage if the claim has been accepted.  Or perhaps, the injured worker is having her privacy violated by the workers compensation nurse who shows up at her medical appointment and insists on going into the examination room and participates in the medical appointment by asking questions of the doctor.  Attorney Pierobon Mays will caution the injured worker that they can deny such access and forbid this intrusion.  Or, when it comes to who to treat with, injured workers do not know that they can choose their own treating doctor.  The workers compensation insurance carrier cannot dictate the workers medical treatment.  In Wisconsin, the injured worker chooses who they will treat with.

Oftentimes, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays gets calls from an injured worker because they have been instructed that they have to go see a workers compensation insurance doctor, termed “Independent Medical Examiner” or an “IME.”  Ironically, there is nothing independent about these doctors.  These doctors are hired by the workers compensation insurance companies with a bent toward denying benefits.  These doctors do not offer medical treatment.  They see the injured worker for 15-30 minutes, at a rented facility, ask a few questions, all in the hopes that the worker will say or do something inconsistent to give them a bit of information to use against the worker.  Like, when one injured worker told the doctor that, before the injury, he enjoyed weightlifting.  The alleged Independent Medical Examiner then used this information of weightlifting against the injured worker claiming that the injury was not caused by the lifting of the 100 pound machine which caused the worker to drop to his knees screaming in pain because he herniated a disk in his back.

During your initial consultation and conversation with Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays, she will spot these troubling issues and guide you accordingly.  Such as how does an injured worker interact and communicate with these IME doctors?  Attorney Pierobon Mays will quickly correct that this doctor appointment should be seen as an “adverse medical doctor, ” not your friend or advocate.  Attorney Pierobon Mays will instruct that every injured work needs to take and keep a silent witness at their side in this adverse appointment.  This is a new change in the law that Attorney Pierobon Mays help initiate in Wisconsin.  Attorney Pierobon Mays will provide the injured worker with other Do’s and Don’ts in preparation for this adverse appointment.   Keep in mind, these doctors have marching orders from the workers compensation carrier to act in their favor, which is generally not in line with the injured worker’s interest of collecting benefits.  So, even if the injured worker is getting benefits now, it is always good to have a familiar voice to call on in the event the insurance carrier wants the worker to see their doctor/IME.  Establishing a relationship with an experienced workers compensation attorney early on will provide confidence.  Confidence that, if an attorney is needed in the future then a trusted relationship with Mays Law Office to advocate and collect has already been established.

If a workers compensation attorney is necessary, under the Wisconsin law, workers’ compensation lawyers can only charge up to 20% of the disputed amount recovered.  This attorney fee is deducted from the injured workers recovered compensation.  With this, the injured worker does not pay until they receive compensation for their injury or illness.

Nothing can compensate pain and suffering following a work injury, however receiving workers compensation benefits under the Wisconsin worker compensation laws is an important step on the way back to recovery.  Lisa Pierobon Mays helps guide injured workers through the Wisconsin workers compensation system, working to ensure that the necessary paperwork is properly filed.  Lisa stays involved in all of her clients’ claims and she never turns her client’s over to a paralegal.  Lisa is involved from the first contact, through doctor appointments, to preparing the claim and client for a potential hearing, often pushing the workers compensation insurance company to make a fair settlement or defend itself at hearing.

Lisa is not intimidated by any employer or insurance carrier.  She has taken on the big box retailers, nationally recognized organizations, and institutions in advocating for her clients.  For more information, call for a free same day consultation at 608-257-0440

Success of the Criminal Defense Side in 2022

Success of the Criminal Defense Side in 2022

Reflecting back on 2022, the criminal defense side of Mays Law Office, LLC had some very interesting cases with some spectacular results.  A few highlights from Attorneys Stephen Mays and John Orth warrant mention:

Client N.J. avoided a felony conviction (fourth offense Operating While Intoxicated), which would have sent him to Federal Prison due to him being on Federal Probation at the time.  (New felony conviction = revocation of federal probation).  While driving at a time the State was unable to establish, Client N.J. went off the road and hit a barn on someone’s property.  After the accident, Client N.J. went home and consumed alcohol.  There were witnesses to this after-driving alcohol consumption.  The arresting agency arrived at the scene of the accident approximately five (5) hours after the accident took place.  They concluded that N.J. was the driver, went to his residence, and arrested him for a fourth offense operating while intoxicated (OWI).  Client N.J. originally admitted driving, but no time was established, and he told the police he drank quite a bit after arriving home.  Client N.J. originally retained Mays Law Office, LLC, thinking this was his third offense OWI.  Client N.J. had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .074 at the time he was arrested – which made Client N.J. under the legal limit for driving on a 3rd offense (.08).  The State later discovered the existence of a third prior OWI conviction – making this current allegation a 4th Offense, where his legal limit now would be .02.  Attorney Steve Mays was able to convince the State that they could not establish the time of driving, thereby making the BAC test of .074 not legally relevant or admissible in the case as not having been taken within three (3) hours of any time of driving.  Additionally, Attorney Mays also convinced the State that they could not establish that Client N.J. was intoxicated before the accident occurred, rather than having gotten to the .074 level after arriving home following the accident.  In conclusion, the State agreed it could not prove Client N.J. was either intoxicated or had a prohibited alcohol concentration in going off the road and hitting the barn.  Thus, and because Client N.J. had admitted to driving the vehicle which hit the barn, the State agreed to amend the felony fourth offense OWI to a misdemeanor charge of Negligent Operation of a Vehicle off the Highway.  A huge victory for Client N.J. as he avoided the possibility of going to prison and a lifetime driver’s license revocation on the original OWI 4th charge, as well as having his Federal Probation revoked and sent back to Federal Prison for close to three (3) years.

Client B.M. avoided a hefty prison sentence that a sixth offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) carries by the proactiveness and tenacity demonstrated by Attorney John Orth in this case.  Client B.M. was seen in his vehicle by an officer parked at a closed gas station in the early hours of the morning.  The officer ran the registration and determined that it was valid and that the registered owner possessed a valid driver license.  Client B.M. exited the parking lot and the officer continued patrolling the area.  Approximately 20 minutes later, the same officer saw Client B.M. again parked at a different closed gas station.  The officer stated in his narrative report that this was “suspicious in nature” due to recent calls of burglaries and catalytic converter thefts in the area and he therefore initiated a traffic stop of Client B.M.  Attorney Orth took the position that, while perhaps somewhat unusual, there was nothing inherently “suspicious” about Client B.M.’s behavior, nor could any logical connection be made between the observed conduct and burglary or auto parts theft.  However, perhaps realizing that the grounds upon which he had detained Client B.M. were shaky, the officer conveniently added to his report that Client B.M.’s license plate was obstructed by its frame and therefore the stop could be justified based on an equipment violation.  Client B.M., knowing his plate was not obstructed, took a picture of it immediately upon his release on bail and sent it to Mays Law Office.  But as anyone familiar with the justice system will attest, in these situations, nine times out of ten the officer will simply claim, “That’s not how it was the night of the stop”, and nine times out of ten judges will accept this explanation.  Unfortunately, the officer’s squad video was insufficiently clear to establish the condition of the plate.  However, a careful review of a backup officer’s body cam revealed a split-second window of time in which the plate could clearly be seen.  It was not obstructed and was in precisely the condition depicted in Client B.M.’s photograph.  Armed with a screen capture, Attorney Orth was able to definitively disprove the officer’s claim.  In a motion to suppress any evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful stop of Client B.M., Attorney Orth argued that the officer was simply and impermissibly acting on a hunch rather than legitimate reasonable suspicion of criminal activity in violation of Client B.M.’s 4th Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures and that the alleged equipment violation was an outright fabrication.  When the time came for the Court to hear the defense’s suppression motion, rather than allowing his officer to be humiliated on the stand, the prosecuting attorney released the officer from his subpoena and directed him to leave, conceded that the stop was unlawful and moved to dismiss the case in its entirety.  Client B.M. walked out of the courthouse vindicated and no longer facing a prison sentence of up to ten (10) years.

Client F.C. needed Mays Law Office’s services when he was charged with a third offense Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).  Attorney Steve Mays had known Client F.C. personally prior to this incident.  When Client F.C. initially called Attorney Mays for help with his legal case, Attorney Mays spoke to him and, at Client F.C.’s request, he also spoke with Client F.C.’s brother, mother and other family members.  This was because Client F.C. was going to be entering an in-patient Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) treatment facility.  Client F.C. wanted Attorney Mays to be able to be in contact with his family while he was in the treatment facility.  This ended up being one of the best things, and a big part of the success Client F.C. would end up having in his journey toward sobriety.  Attorney Mays joined forces with the family to be an ever-present source of support for Client F.C.  Throughout the case, Attorney Mays spoke with, or had some contact with, both Client F.C. or his family, at least once a week to stay apprised as to his well-being and status in the treatment facility.  While Client F.C. ultimately chose to accept full responsibility for his actions and plead guilty to the OWI charge, Client F.C. was able to take back control of his life by becoming sober.  He attributes this to his voluntary entry into the Sober Living House and the support of Attorney Mays and Client F.C.’s family unit – both of which continued to support him and his goal of changing his life.  In a recent conversation with Client F.C., he proudly relayed to Mays Law Office that as of that day he was 319 days sober and counting.  He is now dedicated to helping others who struggle with an alcohol addiction by being a sponsor to them and being there for them in their time of need.  Although this is not the classic “win” in the eyes of the law (i.e., we did not suppress evidence or get the ever-so-satisfying two word “Not Guilty” verdict), it was a win for Client F.C., his loved ones and Mays Law Office knowing he has taken charge of the direction he wants his life to go.  We could not be more proud of him and his dedication to a new lifestyle and complete sobriety and his dedication to assist others still struggling with addiction.

These cases are just a sampling of the results Attorneys Steve Mays and John Orth were able to achieve this past year, 2022.  Through constant communication with our clients we have proven to get outstanding results for them.  Steve and John always act with an eye for winning at any level, in any type of case.  No case is too difficult or intimidating for them.  They are not afraid to take on any prosecutor or advocate for their clients to any judge Statewide.  They have, just this past year, appeared in over 40 counties throughout Wisconsin.  And while they are tenacious litigators, they still view each case individually, and personally, and realize that every client who hires them is more than just a client – they are people.  They are always treated with the utmost respect and concern for each of their individual situations.  That’s why Mays Law Office gets the majority of its criminal and OWI clients from personal referrals from past and current clients.  These results are just the tip of the iceberg of the criminal defense/OWI success Mays Law Office, LLC experienced in 2022.  If you are in need of an experienced criminal defense and/or OWI attorney, call Mays Law Office, LLC today at (608) 257-0440.

The Best of 2022

The Best of 2022

Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays Reflects Back on the Best of 2022

In starting a New Year, Mays Law Office reflects on the last twelve months with great excitement and pride.  In 2022, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays recovered more than One Million Dollars ($1,000.000) in workers compensation benefits for the injured Wisconsin worker.

Mays Law Office prides itself on the diverseness of its clients.  Notable recoveries were achieved for:

Client Z.B. recovered $95,000 when she suffered the amputation of 3 toes on the right foot after stepping on a dirty nail protruding from a board at a campsite that she was instructed to clean up.  Causation leading to amputation would seem easy as infection from a dirty nail seems obvious.  However, Client Z.B. had previously suffered a toe amputation on the same foot prior to the dirty nail event because she is diabetic, a personal condition characteristically known for causing amputation.  Mays Law Office claimed that the damage to the right foot prevented Z.B. from ever being able to work in a competitive environment and making the kind of money she made prior to the injury.  The issue in this claim was, did the dirty nail or personal condition of diabetes cause the additional right toe amputations, and if so, to what extent did it affect her wage-earning ability?  The rub in this claim, apart from the diabetic personal condition of previous amputations on the same foot, was that Client Z.B. was highly skilled with an incredible work history.  Her resume included training horses, acting as a criminal profiler, and author of two novels available on Amazon.  To claim that she was incapable of at least sedentary/sit-down work was a tough sell.  Regardless, Mays Law Office achieved a strong settlement amount despite the pitfalls we would have faced had it been litigated it to a judge.

Client O.Z recovered a six-figure settlement in his workers compensation claim against his employer, a national delivery company when he injured his knee while working on the dock operating a pallet jack that maneuvered awkwardly, causing a twinging or stinger pain to his knee.  Previous pain and medical treatment to the same knee were found in his medical records, and the claim was denied as a pre-existing condition.  Despite these obstacles, Client O.Z. recovered the full value of his claim for disability and lost time because Mays Law Office made an additional claim for potential Retraining due to permanent physical restrictions, which prevented him from returning to his employment or anything comparable in pay.  The rub in this claim was that Client O.Z. had no intentions of pursuing an occupational claim for Retraining.  He was in his mid-sixties and wanted to retire rather than return to the workforce.  By asserting the potential for Retraining, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays was able to inflate the potential value of the claim so that a settlement could be achieved that would allow a settlement at the value of the claim for disability and lost time.  Client O.Z. avoided a hearing and achieved the same effect as if he went to the hearing and won the full value of his claim.

Client Z.R. sought out Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays after having difficulty finding counsel interested in his claim.   The rub was that the treating surgeon had left the State of Wisconsin and relocated his practice to another state.   It took Attorney Pierobon Mays more than four months to finally track down the doctor in another state, get him to return her phone calls, and ultimately agree to complete paperwork on Z.R.’s behalf.  Doctors are hesitant to stay involved with patients from former employers as liability, licensing, and access to medical records can be tricky.  Moreover, all communication had to be during off-hours and not related to the surgeon’s current medical employer.  Needless to say, charm mixed with assertiveness needed to be used delicately when working with this surgeon in completing paperwork on behalf of Client Z.B.  Ultimately, a very satisfactory settlement of $85,000 was achieved for Client R.Z.  But…the story does not end there.  The workers’ compensation insurance carrier was not timely in paying Z.B. his settlement monies despite numerous written reminders by Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays to their legal counsel.  Ultimately, it was feared by the insurance company that their behavior would be seen as unjustified in their failure to timely pay Client Z.B. his settlement monies and lead to another claim – a Bad Faith Penalty Claim and/or Delay in Payment under the Wisconsin Workers Compensation Statutes, Chapter 102.  Due to this late payment of less than 30 days delay, an additional settlement of $15,000 was achieved for Client Z.B.

Client W.K. hurt his right knee while working at a convenience store.  The claim was denied by the workers’ compensation carrier asserting the knee was arthritic before the minor injury at work and, therefore, personal to him and unrelated to the event at work.  The claim was statutorily valued at only $23,000 for disability, lost time, and medical expense BUT Mays Law Office achieved a settlement of $100,000 for Client W.K.  Using smart advocacy, Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays argued that the knee, while only deemed 10% permanently disabled today, was going to deteriorate in the future requiring a total knee replacement.  This kind of knee replacement procedure could cost the workers’ compensation carrier dearly in the future if Client W.K. won at the hearing.  Fearing such, the insurance carrier offered $100,000 to fully settle the claim.  Client W.Z. was delighted with this settlement because his knee was no longer symptomatic, he had no intentions of undergoing a total knee replacement, and he was employed with full medical benefits if the knee ever caused him any more problems.  Ultimately, he pocketed the value of a big “what-if” feared by the insurance carrier.

These four 2022 successful claims are a sampling of the results that Attorney Lisa Pierobon Mays achieves for her clients.  Attorney Pierobon Mays attributes these results to strong advocacy skills.  She communicates often with her clients.  She listens and truly hears what her clients are telling her.  She acts in their best interest.  She handles every single one of her cases individually and never hands them off to an associate attorney or paralegal.  She is not afraid to take on difficult claims, often those that no other attorney wants.  These 2022 results cannot be denied.  If you are an injured Wisconsin worker, call Mays Law Office today at (608)257-0440 for a free consultation.

Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in WI?

Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in WI?

If you’ve been injured on the job in Wisconsin, filing for workers’ compensation can provide you with much-needed financial stability during the recovery process. But, this is only the case if your workers’ compensation claim is successful. If you aren’t successful in securing benefits, not only could you lose out on money you deserve, but you could also end up with bills you can’t afford to pay.

With this in mind, is it worth trying to handle your workers’ compensation claim on your own? Or, should you hire a lawyer to represent you?

10 Reasons to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Wisconsin

Simply put, there are lots of reasons to put an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side. If you need to seek workers’ compensation benefits for a job-related injury in Wisconsin, here are 10 of the most-important reasons to hire a lawyer for your claim:

1. You Need to Protect Your Claim for Benefits

If you have a workers’ compensation claim, you need to protect it. If you don’t, you could lose your right to benefits. Among other things, protecting your claim for workers’ compensation benefits means:

  • Reporting your injury on time;
  • Including all necessary information in your report; and,
  • Filing your claim before the deadline expires.

Your lawyer can help you with each of these steps. If you wait too long, or if you don’t include all required information, your claim could be over before it even begins.

2. You Need to Prove Your Eligibility for Benefits

Even if you are clearly eligible for benefits under Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation law, you will still need to prove your eligibility to collect the benefits you deserve. Your lawyer can assist you with gathering all necessary documentation and proving that you qualify based on the facts surrounding your injury and your employment status.

3. You Need to Make Sure You Receive the Full Benefits You Deserve

Unfortunately, you cannot count on your employer’s insurance company to pay the full benefits you deserve. While it should pay full benefits, there is a good chance that it won’t. When you hire a lawyer, your lawyer can accurately calculate your benefits for you—that way, you won’t unknowingly settle for less than you deserve.

4. You Need to Make Sure Your Benefits Don’t End Too Soon

In addition to underpaying your benefits, the insurance company may also try to terminate your benefits prematurely. If this happens, you will need an experienced lawyer in your corner. Your lawyer can prove your continuing eligibility, and your lawyer can take legal action against the insurance company if necessary.

5. You May Be Better Off with a Workers’ Comp Settlement

If your injury prevents you from working, you could be entitled to weeks, months, or years’ worth of disability benefits. In this scenario, it may be in your best interests to negotiate a lump-sum settlement rather than waiting to see if your weekly benefit checks come in the mail. Your lawyer can help you decide whether to seek a settlement; and, if you would be better off with a settlement, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.

6. Your Employer (or Its Insurance Company) Might Deny Your Claim

Along with the risk of underpayment and early termination, there is also a risk that your employer (or its insurance company) will deny your claim entirely. If this happens, you will need to figure out why, and you will need to determine your next steps. With an experienced lawyer on your side, there is less chance that you will receive a wrongful denial; and, if you receive a denial, your lawyer can take action to appeal the denial immediately.

7. There Are Many Costly Mistakes You Need to Avoid

When you have a workers’ compensation claim in Wisconsin, there are many costly mistakes you need to avoid. If you make mistakes, this could delay your receipt of benefits—or it could even jeopardize your workers’ compensation claim entirely. When you hire a lawyer, your lawyer will walk you through what not to do while your claim is pending, and your lawyer will handle the most important aspects of your claim for you.

8. You Might Have a Claim Outside of Workers’ Comp

While filing a workers’ compensation claim is one way to recover the costs of a job-related injury in Wisconsin, it may not be the only option you have available. Depending on what happened and who was responsible, you could potentially have a variety of other claims as well. Your lawyer can provide a comprehensive assessment of your legal rights, and your lawyer can pursue all available claims in order to maximize your financial recovery.

9. Hiring a Lawyer Costs Nothing Out-of-Pocket

While many injured workers have concerns about the cost of hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer, the reality is that you can get experienced legal representation at no out-of-pocket cost. This is because workers’ compensation lawyers work on a “contingency fee” basis. When you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you, you will not pay any legal fees up front—and you will not pay any legal fees at all unless your lawyer helps you secure benefits.  

10. Your Lawyer Can Help Maximize Your Take-Home Compensation

Won’t your lawyer’s contingency fees reduce the amount of your recovery? While the technical answer is “Yes,” the practical answer is “No.” Even though your legal fees will come out of your benefits, a reputable workers’ compensation lawyer will not take your case unless the lawyer believes he or she can help you take home more than you could recover on your own.

Schedule a Free Workers’ Comp Consultation at Mays Law Office in Madison, WI

If you have more questions about hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer in Wisconsin, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation. We will be happy to answer all of your questions and help you make an informed decision about how best to move forward. To schedule an appointment at Mays Law Office in Madison, WI, please call 608-257-0440 or get in touch online today. 

What Injuries Aren’t Covered Under Workers’ Comp in Wisconsin?

What Injuries Aren’t Covered Under Workers’ Comp in Wisconsin?

Earlier this year, we published an article discussing the types of injuries covered under workers’ compensation in Wisconsin. In that article, we explained that it isn’t the nature of your injury that determines your legal rights, but rather the circumstances surrounding your injury and your employment status.

With this in mind, there are certain circumstances in which job-related injuries aren’t covered under workers’ compensation. But, if you got injured in one of these circumstances, you should still speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. There are exceptions to the general rules; and, even if you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you may qualify for other benefits or financial compensation.

5 Circumstances In Which Job-Related Injuries Might Not Be Covered Under Workers’ Compensation

So, when might you be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits? Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are not available in the following five circumstances:

1. You Got Injured During Your Morning or Evening Commute

Even though commuting is a necessary part of going to work, it is not considered a “job-related” activity for workers’ compensation purposes in most cases. So, if you get injured in a car accident during your morning or evening commute, you most likely won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits (although you may have an auto insurance claim).

But, there are some exceptions. For example, if your employer asks you to pick up supplies on your way in or drop off a delivery on your way home, this may qualify your commute as job-related. In this scenario, you are not solely commuting, but you are also doing something that your employer specifically asked you to do for work. Since you are driving for work to a location that you would not otherwise be driving, you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

2. You Deviated From Your Work Duties While Traveling

In general, work-related travel is covered under workers’ compensation in Wisconsin. But, an exception applies if you “deviate” from your work duties while traveling. As the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) explains, “If your work requires travel, you are covered at all times while traveling, including the time you are eating or sleeping, unless you deviate from regular work duties for a private or personal reason.”

So, let’s say you live in Middleton and your employer asks you to travel to Milwaukee for business. If you decide to take advantage of the opportunity and attend a Brewers game while you are there, your trip to American Family Field wouldn’t be covered.

3. You Injured Yourself On Purpose or Were Engaged in Horseplay or Fighting

Workers’ compensation is a “no fault” system in Wisconsin. This means that eligible employees can file claims for benefits regardless of who is at fault for their injuries. But, there are two major exceptions to this rule.

The first is for intentional injuries. If you intentionally injure yourself in order to file for workers’ compensation benefits, your injury won’t be covered. This exception exists for the very purpose of discouraging workers from making dangerous decisions with the goal of collecting disability compensation. The Wisconsin DWD makes this clear, stating: “The law provides that if an injury is intentionally self-inflicted, it is not compensable.”

The second exception is for horseplay and fighting. As the Wisconsin DWD explains, “If the injured employee started the horseplay or was the aggressor in the fight, it is unlikely that the employee will be paid compensation.” But, the DWD also clarifies that, “if an employee is injured as the result of horseplay started by others . . . [or] attacked without provocation, he or she may be awarded compensation.”

4. Your Employer Isn’t Required to Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage

In Wisconsin, not all employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation law applies to most companies with three or more employees, as well as companies with fewer employees that pay wages of $500 more in any calendar quarter. In the agricultural industry, it applies to employers that have six or more employees for at least 20 days per year.

As you can see, the exceptions to Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation law are fairly limited; and, as the Wisconsin DWD notes, “[n]early all workers in Wisconsin are covered.” But, if your employer isn’t required to have coverage (and if it hasn’t purchased coverage voluntarily), you won’t be able to claim workers’ compensation benefits if you get injured on the job.

5. You Are an “Independent Contractor” Instead of an “Employee”

Finally, in Wisconsin, workers’ compensation benefits are only available to workers who are “employees.” If you are an “independent contractor,” as a general rule you aren’t eligible for benefits. But, some employers misclassify their workers, so even if you have been told that you are an independent contractor, you should still consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer about your legal rights.

How Do I Know for Sure If I Can File for Workers’ Compensation in Wisconsin?

If you have been injured on the job in Wisconsin, how can you know for sure if you should file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits?

Understanding your legal rights under Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation law isn’t easy. There are lots of rules and exceptions, and you can’t necessarily trust your employer to tell you what you need to know. With this in mind, the best thing you can do is consult with a lawyer. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to determine your eligibility; and, if you have a claim, your lawyer can fight for maximum benefits on your behalf. Even taking your legal fees into account, you can take home more with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Middleton, WI

If you have suffered a job-related injury and have questions about your right to workers’ compensation benefits, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Middleton, WI in confidence,  call 608-257-0440 or get in touch online now.