Workers' Compensation FAQ

"You should not be injured a second time by the insurance company.  That's why we create a team with you, so you can concentrate on recovery and we concentrate on making sure you get compensated for your losses."

Workers' Compensation

The purpose of the Worker's Comp Act is to provide medical care and a flow of income to people disabled at work. An injury received by the employee in the course of and arising out of the employment relationship triggers the right to receive three types of benefits: weekly indemnity payments to replace the loss of income, medical care benefits to pay the medical bills related to the injury and specific benefits for scarring, disfigurement or loss of use of a limb.

The first thing that you should do is notify your supervisor regarding the injury and seek medical attention.  You are permitted to see the doctor of facility of your choice.  You do not have to go to the clinic or care facility that your employer wants you to go to.

The receipt of monetary benefits is not the sole goal when we represent you. We also insist that the correct paperwork be completed and filed with the Department of Labor to ensure that your employer has accepted the liability for your injury, today and into the future.

Which doctors can I treat with? Can I switch doctors? Are there benefits for disfigurement and loss of use? Can I be reimbursed for the purchase of a special bed prescribed by my doctor? What about a health club for exercise? Am I entitled to rehabilitation? Will I get my job back when I recover? All these questions may be answered depending on the facts of your case. Mr. Hirsch can answer these questions for you and advise you of your rights and obligations under the Workers' Comp Act. And in most cases, the employer, or its insurance carrier, pays our fee.

How much will I receive?

For full-time employees, the amount of weekly benefits you receive is based upon your earnings during the 13 weeks immediately before you are disabled or injured, plus the overtime that you may have earned during the 52 weeks before your injury . Your rate will be 75% of your "spendable base wages, earnings or salary" during that time period. The "spendable base" changes each year, is dependent upon the number of dependents that you have, and it is intended to be similar to your net income. The amount that you receive will be less that your prior take home pay.  Unfortunately, your weekly comp payments will not be the same as your recent take home pay.

For part time employees, the period used to determine your rate is 26 weeks instead of 13 weeks.

Do I get benefits for my dependents?

While your are considered totally disabled, you are entitled to moneyfor each dependent.

Will my benefits increase?

For those who are totally disabled for more than a year, a Cost of Living Adjustment may increase your benefits annually as of May 10 of each year.

Are there any obligations that I have?

Yes - For example, your must attend each medical examination scheduled by your employer / insurer. You must report all earnings, including wages or salary for all services you perform while receiving workers' comp benefits. Failure to do so may be grounds for termination of benefits as well as possible criminal liability. Under certain conditions, one may have an obligation to return to work at a lighter position, or even seek alternate employment.

Am I entitled to other Benefits besides weekly payments?

Yes. Your employer / insurer must pay for all reasonable and related medical expenses including medication. If you have a scar or other disfigurement from an injury, you are also entitled to additional benefits. An employer / insurer must also reimburse an employee for transportation costs to and from the office of any medical examiner requested by the employer or an impartial examiner appointed by the Court.

When I recover, can I return to my regular job?

Yes, within certain time frames and subject to certain conditions, an injured employee does have a right to reinstatement to his/her former position of employment upon demand for reinstatement. An employee's right ends 10 days after he/she has been notified by the employer / insurer that the treating doctor has allowed the employee to return to work, or 52 weeks after the anniversary of the date of injury.

How do I pay for my lawyer?

No recovery, no fee. It's that simple.

We do not charge a fee for representing you unless we are successful. Personal Injury cases are customarily handled on a contingency fee basis. Workers' Compensation fees are established by the Court and usually paid by the employer/insurer; if there is a full settlement, then the Workers' Compensation Act allows a fee of up to twenty percent (20%) of the settlement, which must be approved by the Court. For Social Security and SSI claims our fee must be approved by the Social Security Administration and is twenty-five (25%) percent of the back due benefits you are awarded, with a maximum of $5300. In all cases, costs incurred by us while prosecuting any matter on your behalf are to be reimbursed by you.