What Should I Do After a Work Accident in Delaware?
Were you hurt on the job in Delaware? It is imperative that you know what to do to protect your health, your safety, and your workers’ compensation rights. Here is a list of key steps to take following an on-the-job accident in Delaware:
- Get Medical Care: Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Even if the injury seems minor, it could later manifest into a serious condition. You will not be able to file for workers’ comp benefits in Delaware if you fail to see a doctor.
- Notify Your Employer: Inform your employer about the accident as soon as possible, providing all the details about how it occurred.
- File for Workers’ Comp Benefits: Your employer should provide you with the proper claims form. If you need any help, consult with a Delaware workers’ comp lawyer.
Do I Have to Prove Fault to Get Workers’ Comp Benefits?
No. The Delaware Department of Labor explains clearly that our state requires employers to provide workers’ comp insurance coverage that operates on a no-fault basis. In other words, an injured worker is not required to prove that their employer was at fault for their injuries to qualify for benefits. As long as the injury occurred while you were working, you are generally eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits. Our state’s workers’ comp system is focused on providing support for injured workers, not on assigning blame.
Can I Qualify for Workers’ Comp If I Was Hurt Outside of My Employer’s Premises?
Yes, you can still qualify for workers’ comp in Delaware even if your injury happened off your employer’s premises. The location of your workplace injury is actually not the material issue in a Delaware workers’ compensation claim. Instead, the key consideration is whether the injury occurred within the course and scope of your employment. You may sometimes hear this referred to as a “course and scope” standard. In effect, it means that as long as you were “working” at the time that an injury happened, you can qualify. For example, if you were injured while making deliveries or performing any job-related duties offsite, you could still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Delaware.
How Long Do I Have to File for Workers’ Compensation in Delaware?
In Delaware, you generally have two years from the date of the injury to file a workers’ comp claim. The statute of limitations applies to most work-related injuries. However, for occupational diseases, you usually have two years from the date you became aware of the condition and its relation to your employment. As an occupational disease does not always have a clear and specific onset date, determining that deadline for that type of case can be more challenging. It is crucial to file your claim in a timely manner. Failing to do so may result in a loss of your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Remember, you always have a duty to notify your employer of an accident report away.
What Benefits are Available Through a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Workers’ compensation benefits in Delaware aim to provide financial support and medical assistance to workers injured on the job. Here is an overview of the benefits that you may be eligible to receive as part of your workers’ comp claim:
- Medical Benefits: These benefits typically include payment for medical expenses related to the injury, which may encompass doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, surgeries, and physical therapy.
- Wage Replacement: You can also receive compensation for lost wages if you are unable to work during your recovery. The amount is usually a portion of your average weekly wages.
- Permanent Disability: If the injury leads to permanent disability, you may be eligible for disability benefits, which vary based on whether the disability is total or partial, temporary or permanent.
- Death Benefits: In Delaware, workers’ compensation death benefits are available for the families of workers who tragically lost their lives in work-related accidents.
Can I Appeal a Workers’ Comp Denial in Delaware?
Yes. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied in Delaware, you have the right to appeal the decision. The first step in the appeal process is to file a petition with the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation. Be proactive. Do not wait to file your appeal. From there, the case will then be assigned to an Industrial Accident Board hearing officer, and a hearing will be scheduled. It is important to prepare your case thoroughly when appealing a denial. Consult with an experienced Delaware workers’ comp appeal attorney as soon as possible after getting a denial letter.
What is a Third Party Liability Claim?
A third-party liability claim occurs when an entity other than your employer is at fault for your workplace injury. For example, if you were injured at work due to faulty equipment manufactured by another company, you could file a third-party liability claim against that company. To be clear, this is in addition to your workers’ compensation claim. While you generally cannot sue your own employer, you can sue any other negligent party that contributed to your workplace accident. Doing so can be particularly important as a third-party liability claim may allow you to recover damages not covered by workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering.
How Do I Find the Right Delaware Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Workers’ compensation claims are complicated. Finding the right workers’ compensation attorney in Delaware involves a few key considerations. To start, look for an attorney with a strong background in workers’ compensation law. They should have a solid track record of successfully handling cases similar to yours. Next, seek a lawyer who communicates clearly and responds promptly to your questions. A free, no-obligation initial consultation can provide valuable insights into their communication style. The right attorney will provide both expert legal advice and the personalized attention you deserve.
Freibott Law Firm is a reliable, results-focused workers’ compensation law firm with law offices in Wilmington and Lewes. Injured workers deserve personalized legal representation. If you have any questions about a workers’ comp claim or a workers’ comp appeal, contact a Delaware workers’ compensation attorney at Freibott Law Firm for a free, no-commitment consultation.
1711 E. Newport Pike
P.O. Box 6168
Wilmington, Del., 19804
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