You never thought it would happen to you, but here you are. You suffered an injury or illness related to your job, and now you are trying to get compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, that is proving more complicated than you expected. The whole process can be downright confusing.
As is true with anything, the more you know and understand about workers’ compensation and the process, the easier it is to get through it and get what you need from it. There are a lot of questions that people have about workers’ compensation. The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development website answers many of them, and, of course, legal counsel may be able to do the same.
What do I do after suffering a work-related injury or illness?
The first thing to do is seek medical attention right away, then report the matter to your employer. If you plan on pursuing workers’ compensation benefits, you must notify your employer of the incident within 30 days of occurrence. Document everything, keep records of medical visits, keep receipts, file your workers’ comp claim and take care of yourself.
What can I expect from the insurer?
If your claim receives approval, you may expect to start receiving payment within 21 days of reporting the incident. How much you receive will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The nature of the injury or illness
- Your current salary
- Current state limits
- If you become a non-resident
After determining compensation, you should receive payment every two weeks. If your payments are late, it may be a requirement that the insurer pay you an additional amount in penalties and interest.
What if my claim does not receive approval?
This happens more often than you might think. If your claim fails to receive approval, you may appeal the decision in writing. If you want to do this, you must file your appeal within the timeframe given in your rejection notice.
What types of benefits does workers’ compensation offer?
There are several, including various types of disability benefits, medical, death and reemployment benefits. The types of benefits you receive depend on the details of your case.
What if my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance?
In this case, you may feel out of luck, but the good news is, that is not necessarily true. It may be possible to get your employer to pay for your losses. Some employers may agree to compensation simply by talking to them; others may still refuse. If your employer refuses to cover your losses, you may file a claim with the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund. The fund may cover your losses, and the state will work on recovering what it pays out from your employer.