Filing an 'Employee's Claim and Employer's First Report of Injury'
Within 72 hours of your injury on the job, your employer is required to file an “Employee’s Claim and Employer’s First Report of Injury” with the Vermont Department of Labor. The report is also called a “Form 1.” that puts you and your injury into the workers’ compensation system and triggered your rights to “benefits.”
Let’s think of two kinds of benefits. First, there are money benefits paid for disability income and permanent injury. Second, there are services benefits paid for health care and job retraining.
Smaller benefits are also available such as reimbursements for mileage and some meals associated with appointments. If you have any dependent children up to 21 years of age, there is an extra benefit payment. There are also annual cost-of-living increases to the rate of a weekly check. You can claim late fees when the insurer fails to mail or electronically transfer your check on time.
The benefits and the help that you can receive in the system require you to understand your rights and take action. You can claim a benefit for a specific kind of payment or a specific kind of service. You can also see if the insurer is interested in negotiating a lump-sum settlement.
The system won’t automatically do all things for you. The system usually limits itself to a Vermont Department of Labor decision approving or disapproving action taken by you or action taken by the insurer. The Vermont Department of Labor, the insurer, and the adjuster are not permitted to provide you with legal advice. It is up to you (generally with the help of an experienced attorney) to determine what benefits you should receive and then work through the system to obtain those benefits. If you do not take an active role, you’ll be at the mercy of the insurance company, whose motivation it is to pay as little as it can in order to maximize its profits.