If you or a loved one has been hurt at work, it's normal to have questions about what your options are, what you're entitled to, and how to receive the benefits you need. Below, our knowledgeable Vermont workers' compensation attorney at the Law Office of Charles L. Powell PLLC has provided answers to some of the most common questions workers' compensation claimants face.
Do I Have Access to Workers' Comp Coverage?
In Vermont, all employers who hire full and/or part-time employees are generally required to provide workers' compensation coverage. Those employers that do not provide workers' compensation insurance in violation of labor laws can be subject to penalties and can be sued.
Are Independent Contractors Also Covered?
In many cases, yes. Vermont provides broad definitions of who must be covered under an employer's workers' compensation insurance. If there is a dispute, a "Right to Control" test and a “Nature of the Business” test are usually used to determine the nature of the employer/contractor relationship. In many cases, the employer is acting as a boss in these arrangements, which can help substantiate a contractor's eligibility for coverage. It is recommended that, before any accident can occur, a contractor clarifies with a potential employer the policy on workers' comp coverage.
Won't Filing a Claim Anger My Employer?
It's every full and part-time employee's right to have access to workers' compensation coverage, regardless of whether your employer wants you to file a claim or not. When a work accident occurs, coverage should be provided. If your employer has tried to convince you not to file or has retaliated against you for filing, they are in the wrong.
Why Was My Claim Denied?
There are numerous reasons why insurers deny workers' comp claims. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons: either the claim was not properly submitted or the injury itself does not warrant coverage.
Far more often, however, denials are the result of the insurer trying to protect its bottom line. Insurers might attempt to minimize the injury event, or allege “pre-existing” conditions, or attack the employee’s credibility, or promote other reasons to deny the claim outright. In these cases, it may be necessary to retain legal counsel right away in order to recover the benefits you need.
What Is My Independent Medical Examination?
Your independent medical examination (IME) is a medical examination that will be set up by your employer's insurer to evaluate your health and the effects of your injury. The findings will help the insurer decide what it wants to do with your claim and how much compensation the insurer wants to allow. But, remember, this is not your doctor.
Why Can't I Use My Own Doctor?
You can. You and your doctor don’t have any obligation to agree with the opinions of the insurer’s doctor. Your attorney can help you to object to incorrect and inappropriate opinions by the insurer’s doctor.
I Need Assistance with My Claim—What Do I Do Next?
If your claim has been denied, or you have received less than full acceptance of coverage for your injuries, then it is time to consult with an experienced Vermont workers' compensation lawyer. At the Law Office of Charles L. Powell PLLC, Attorney Powell has extensive legal experience in workers’ compensation and has published the Injured Workers’ Guide to Vermont Workers’ Compensation. We know the remedies available and the process to pursue for proper coverage when insurance companies fail to honor the rights of injured workers.
Have more questions about your workers' compensation claim? Call us at (802) 731-0154 or fill out our online form today to request a free case evaluation.