Workers’ Compensation Facts
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that if you're injured in the "course and scope of employment," you’re typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of whether your own negligence played a role in the accident.
In general, employees are covered for work-related injuries that occur outside the office. The primary consideration in these cases becomes whether the injury is actually work-related. Some questions that will determine whether an injury is work-related include:
Was the employer benefiting from the employee’s actions when the injury occurred?
Did the employer require the employee to engage in the injury-causing activity?
Did the employer approve the off-site activity in advance?
What Should you do if you are Injured at Work?
If you are injured on the job, immediately do the following:
· Receive immediate medical attention or first aid.
· Report your injury- in writing- to your supervisor as soon as possible.
· Receive a free consultation from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Working from Home
As more employees are telecommuting during the Coronavirus Pandemic, questions may arise if you have been injured while working from home.
The same principle applies if you are injured at home during working hours. When you were injured, was it due to a work-related activity?
Say, for example, you were walking to the printer to retrieve documents and you tripped and twisted your ankle. This would be covered under workers’ compensation because the injury occurred during the course and scope of employment and your employer was benefitting from the activity.
Larry Kimmel, managing partner of Kimmel Carter, outlines the basic rights of Delaware workers’ compensation:
1. Disability Benefits
Your wage rights under the workers’ compensation laws in Delaware are based on your average weekly wage (generally determined by averaging the past 26 weeks of your gross wages before the work accident). Workers’ compensation total disability wage benefits pay 2/3 of your average weekly wage, tax free, up to a limit of $747.66. This benefit is designed to replace your wages when you are unable to work for 3 or more days due to your work injury. This benefit is also available on a partial basis if your doctor restricts your work hours or work duties, which results in you earning lower wages.
2. Medical Benefits
If you are injured in the course and scope of your employment, you are entitled to medical benefits for the rest of your life as long as the treatment is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the work injury, and your Delaware caregiver is also certified under the Workers’ Compensation Statute (if you see an out-of-state doctor, they do not have to be certified under the Workers’ Compensation Statute). A list of certified providers can be found on the Department of Labor’s website.
The worker’s compensation insurance company must pay at least one medical bill every 5 years in order to keep this benefit active.
You are entitled to mileage reimbursement of forty cents ($0.40) per mile, roundtrip for your doctor’s appointments.
4. Scarring/ Disfigurement
In Delaware, any scar and/or disfigurement that is visible when properly clothed can be awarded a monetary settlement. The amount of the settlement is determined by the location, size and visibility of the scar. Also, if you walk with a limp as a result of your work injury, or need to use any devices permanently (crutches, wheelchair, etc.) you may also qualify for this benefit.
5. Permanent Partial Impairment
If your work injury is permanent, you may be entitled to a lump sum payment. The amount of this recovery is based on a formula which takes into account the part of your body that was injured, your percentage of impairment and your workers’ compensation rate of pay. This can be a substantial amount of money and does not impact other workers’ compensation benefits.
If you have been injured on the job, or lost a loved one to a workplace-related accident, the attorneys at Kimmel, Carter, Roman, Peltz & O’Neill are here to help. We are Delaware’s Largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Law Firm. To schedule a free review of your case, call 302-565-6100.