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Are you entitled to worker's compensation?

A physical injury may not only be painful, but also inhibit one's ability to participate in certain activities and even work. In cases where an injury occurs at work or while performing work-related duties, an individual may be able to receive compensation under worker's compensation law.

In cases where a nurse, construction worker, truck driver or office worker is injured and cannot perform assigned work duties, worker's compensation provides much-needed income. The amount of compensation awarded to an injured worker depends largely on the nature and severity of an injury. In general, compensation should cover any costs related to medical care and lost wages that result from an injury.

The following are possible injuries that may be considered work-related and therefore covered under worker's compensation:

• Mental health conditions
• Occupational diseases
• Physical injuries
• Preexisting conditions where a re-injury occurs while performing work-related duties

Workers who are injured on the job would be wise to report an injury to an employer as soon as possible and to keep detailed records of everything that happens thereafter. After an injury is reported, an individual must complete a worker's compensation claim and an employer will file the claim with its insurance provider. The sooner a claim is completed and filed, the sooner an individual can start receiving benefits.

While the worker's compensation process may seem simple and straightforward, it is extremely complex and many injured workers fail to recover the full compensation amount to which they are entitled. In some cases, disputes may arise related to the amount of compensation awarded or the duration of payment terms. For these reasons, it's often wise to consult with an attorney who can assist in filing a claim and advocate on one’s behalf.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Workers' Comp In-Depth," 2015

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