Representing Vermont Workers During Injury Claims
An employee with a work-related injury or illness is usually entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault. In exchange for guaranteed benefits under the workers’ compensation statute, employees generally do not have the right to sue their employer for damages. Injured employees may still sue a third party who is responsible for their injury. Vermont law requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage to provide benefits to injured employees.
If you are injured at work, you should immediately report your injury to your supervisor. You should also complete an Employer’s First Report of Injury (Form 1) and Employee’s Notice of Injury and Claim For Compensation (Form 5).
Dealing with the insurance company and navigating the process with the Vermont Department of Labor can be challenging. The attorneys at Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP, work diligently to ensure that every client receives the maximum benefits to which he or she is entitled. We provide each client with attentive personal service and assertive representation throughout the process.
Vermont Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There are a number of benefits to which injured employees are entitled, including medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits and death benefits.
- Medical benefits: If you are injured at work, you are entitled to reasonable medical care to treat your work-related injury. The treatment must be both reasonable and related to the work injury. Often after a work injury, the workers’ compensation insurer will assign a doctor to you; however, you have a right to choose your own doctor and change doctors at any time during your treatment after your initial medical appointment. It is important that you have a doctor whom you feel comfortable with. Even after your case is “closed” and even if you stop working for the employer whose workplace you were injured in, you are entitled to have medical bills related to your work injury paid by the workers’ compensation insurer so long as you do not have a new injury to the same body part.
- Mileage reimbursement: If you are injured at work, you are entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses. Reimbursement rates are set by the federal government, and they change annually.
- Temporary disability benefits: If you are injured at work and miss time from work, you are entitled to wage replacement during the period of time you are temporarily disabled from work due to your work injury. Temporary benefits continue until you return to work or reach a “medical end result.” A medical end result (or maximum medical improvement) does not necessarily mean that you have returned to your pre-injury health; rather, it refers to a point when you have reached a stable plateau in your recovery and your condition is not expected to substantially improve. The amount of your weekly benefit is based upon your average weekly wage at the time of your work injury and whether your disability is “total” (you are unable to work at all) or “partial” (you are able to work part time). If you are released to work with limitations or reduced hours, you must accept the work offered by the employer or look for work within your limitations if there is no work available with the employer and if the workers’ compensation insurer informs you of your obligation.
- Permanent disability benefits: If you are left with a permanent impairment following a work injury, you are entitled to payment of permanent disability benefits. The amount of permanent disability benefits to which you are entitled is based upon the percentage of the permanent impairment. Permanent disability benefits are not intended as wage replacement benefits, but are meant to compensate an injured employee for the loss of function resulting from a work injury. Permanent disability benefits are not available until after you have reached a medical end result and the degree of your permanent impairment is determined by a doctor. You are entitled to have a permanency examination performed by your treating doctor, or if he or she does not perform them, by a doctor of your choice at the cost of the insurer. The insurer may also request that you undergo an evaluation by a doctor of its choice.
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits: Following a work injury, if you are not able to return to suitable employment, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation services. Vocational rehabilitation services assist in retraining to allow an injured worker to return to gainful employment following a work injury.
- Death benefits: In cases where an employee dies as a result of a work injury, Vermont workers’ compensation provides for payment of death benefits to the employee’s dependents.
Call For A Free Initial Consultation With A Vermont Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you or your loved one has been injured on the job, please call us at 802-442-3233 in Vermont. You can also contact our experienced attorneys via email. We have conveniently located offices and other meeting locations throughout southern Vermont and regularly travel throughout the region to meet with clients.