When individuals have been injured on-the-job, they are most likely concerned about getting the proper medical treatment, paying their bills, and getting back to work. These individuals often need to depend on workers’ compensation to maintain and keep food on the table while they recover; however, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes they need a lawyer’s help to get the benefits they are entitled to.
In 2016, there were a total of 82,700 work-related injuries and illnesses reported in Wisconsin. That same year, 105 employees died as a result of on-the-job accidents. The public sector sub-industries with the highest injury rates include heavy and civil engineering construction, utilities, and transit and ground passenger transportation. The private sector sub-industries with the highest injury rates include manufacturing, couriers, and construction.
Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation laws make it far more difficult to receive benefits than it should be. That’s why our lawyers have proven experience in handling workers’ compensation cases for injured Wisconsin residents. Over the last 20 years, our attorneys have helped hundreds of workers succeed with their claims. We can help you, too. With the help of a skilled Milwaukee workers’ compensation lawyer, you can continue to provide for your family.
If you’re injured on the job, you’ll need to know what your rights are as a Wisconsin citizen and worker. We’re here to provide you with information on Wisconsin’s workers’ comp laws, on-the-job injuries, the benefits you may be eligible for, and the benefits of seeking legal representation in the event your claim does not go the way you want.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in Wisconsin
Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect and compensate employees for injuries or disabilities sustained on the job. In Wisconsin, these policies are established by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).
More than 98 percent of Wisconsin’s workers are covered by their employer under workers’ compensation law. Generally, an employee is covered if their employer has three or more full-time or part-time employees. Volunteers, independent contractors, and some farm workers are not protected by workers’ compensation laws because they are not considered employees by the state.
Wisconsin operates under what is known as a no-fault system. This means that when you are injured on the job while working, your employer’s insurance company must pay your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages even if you’re partially or fully at fault for the accident.
If you sustain an on-the-job injury, you’ll need to report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. In most situations, you should make the report within 30 days. To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must notify your employer within two years of the accident. If the employer knows or should have known about the accident, you have six years. In the event of an occupational disease diagnosis or certain traumatic injuries, there is no statute of limitations.
Common Workplace Injuries
Millions of Americans suffer from a variety of on-the-job injuries every year. While injuries can happen at any job, the majority of injuries are seen in the following industries: healthcare, construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance, retail trade, and wholesale trade. Below you’ll find a list of the most common injuries employees sustain.
- Overexertion Injuries. Overexertion is the most common workplace injury. This type of injury is related to throwing, holding, carrying, lifting, pushing, or pulling activities at work.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries. Repetitive motion injuries often develop over time. These types of injuries are common with employees who type frequently or repeat the same activities throughout the course of the workday. Suffers may experience back pain, vision problems, muscle and tendon strains, or carpal tunnel.
- Falling Object Injuries. Falling objects, whether the objects are dropped or improperly secured, can result in serious injuries. Most often, the result is a head injury like a concussion. In severe cases, an employee may sustain a traumatic brain injury.
- Falling from Heights. Falling injuries are most common in the construction industry. In the event harnessing and safety equipment is not properly installed or used, an employee can fall from roofs, ladders, or scaffolding equipment. Broken bones and more severe injuries are likely.
- Slipping or Tripping Injuries. While an employee should always be aware of their surroundings, employers should ensure work floors remain dry and free of debris. If not, slipping or tripping injuries may result.
- Vehicle Accidents. Employees who drive for business or company purposes put themselves at risk for car accidents, which can result in a variety of injuries or even death.
Many of these accidents occur because employers avoid addressing possible hazards. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), the following list contains the most frequently cited standards during the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections:
- Improper use of or lack of fall protection in the construction industry
- Communication hazards in all industries
- Scaffolding hazards in the construction industry
- Inadequate respiratory protection in all industries
- Improper control of hazardous energy in all industries
- Ladder hazards in the construction industry
- Industrial truck hazards in all industries
- Improper or malfunctioning machinery and machine guarding in all industries
- Inadequate training for fall protection in all industries
- Hazardous electrical wiring methods, components, and equipment in all industries
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In Wisconsin, workers’ compensation benefits are available for temporary disabilities, permanent disabilities, and death.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability benefits are paid to you while you are recovering from your injuries. These benefits are broken down into temporary partial disability and temporary total disability.
- Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits are awarded to individuals are able to return to work but are unable to make as much money because of their injuries. An employee may be eligible for up to two-thirds the difference between their pre-injury and post-injury wages.
- Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are awarded to individuals who are unable to perform any of their job duties. An employee may be eligible for up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage, not exceed the state’s maximum amount, until they return to work or reach their maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is determined by a doctor.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Once your doctor has determined you have reached you MMI, you’ll be evaluated for a permanent disability. In the event your injury prevents you from performing any type of work, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits or permanent total disability benefits.
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are separated into two categories: scheduled loss and unscheduled loss. Scheduled loss benefits are available to individuals who have suffered an amputation. You will receive these benefits for a set amount of time, depending on the location of the amputation. Unscheduled losses account for permanent disabilities that are not listed under the scheduled losses.
- Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits are awarded for severe, life-changing, permanent injuries like the loss of both eyes, arms, or legs. These benefits will be paid at the same rate as the TTD benefits and will last as long as the disability lasts.
In the event an accident or injury in the workplace results in death, the employee’s dependents may be eligible for up to four times the worker’s annual wages, plus an additional $10,000 for funeral and burial expenses.
You may also be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, mileage reimbursement for traveling to and from medical appointments, as well as vocational rehabilitation in the event you are unable to return to your previous position.
Getting Help from a Trusted Milwaukee, WI Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
At Urban & Taylor, S.C., our services are focused on protecting your rights and getting you the compensation you deserve. Here are a few examples of how a Milwaukee workers’ compensation attorney from our firm can help:
- Getting claims admitted by insurance carriers so that the injured worker will receive benefits in a timely manner.
- Helping injured workers receive wage loss benefits in the full, correct amount to help them continue to provide for their families.
- Assisting in getting you the medical treatment recommended by your doctor (many insurance carriers will try and insist that recommended treatments are unnecessary).
- Helping you get fair reimbursement for your mileage to and from your treating physicians and therapists.
- Making sure you receive a fair evaluation of your permanent impairment and that you receive benefits to compensate you for your losses.
- Seeing that you are compensated for any future loss of earning capacity that you may have suffered.
- Seeking compensation for any disfigurement or scarring caused by your injury.
You can be sure that none of these goals will align with the goals of your employer’s insurance agents, as they will be mostly concerned about profit and saving your employer as much money as possible. This means that they will likely do everything they can to stall the claim process, lower the payments due to you, or avoid making payments altogether. When you go up against an employer’s insurance department, you need someone on your side who will fight on your behalf.
If you have suffered from a work-related injury, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Urban & Taylor, S.C. today. If you are not getting the benefits you need and deserve, we want to help and can pair you with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Wisconsin who is well-versed in state laws and will get you the compensation you and your family deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.