Recent demands on the American workforce are higher than ever and so are the stakes for hard-working employees. A work related injury or disease can be catastrophic for you and your family. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Elgart & Zafran, LLC can advocate for you and your family’s security and navigate you through the workers comp process for a fair settlement.
How Do Workers’ Compensation Cases Work in Delaware?
Workers’ compensation, commonly referred to as workers’ comp, is a state system administered by Delaware’s Department of Labor. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees who are injured or contract an occupational disease while working, or to their surviving dependents in the case of death. All companies with one or more employees are required by law to have workers compensation insurance.
If you are injured at work you must follow these steps for you to file a workers’ compensation claim:
1. Immediately notify your employer in writing of your injury or occupational disease. After 90 days, you may lose a portion of your benefits.
2. See a physician and inform them that the injury occurred at work. Delaware law allows you to see a physician of your choice; however, your employer may request their doctor to examine you to further investigate your claim.
3. Give your employer notice of any claims for compensation. In the case of work related death, notification must be made by a dependent of the deceased or someone on their behalf.
4. If your employer fails to provide or reach an agreement for lawful compensation, an application must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or one year of knowing the diagnosis of an occupational disease with the Office of Workers’ Compensation for a hearing with the Industrial Accident Board.
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim and your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, denied your claim, or has retaliated against you for filing a claim, the workers’ comp attorneys at Elgart & Zafran, LLC can assist you through these difficult times.
What are the types of Workers’ Compensation injuries?
Accidents can happen in nearly any work environment. Our expert team of workers’ compensation attorneys have successfully represented clients in workers’ comp claims in these areas:
- Food/Retail environments
- Government (both state and federal)
- Police and First Responders
The nature of workers’ compensation has significantly shifted recently. The National Safety Council has recently reported the top six work related injuries:
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments
- Slips & Falls
- Contact with equipment
- Transportation accidents
- Injuries caused by people or animals
If you are unsure whether your injury is compensable, protect your workers’ rights and your family’s well-being by contacting our office today.
Available Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Delaware
Delaware’s workers’ compensation system provides six categories of benefit for the injured.
Medical benefits are provided by the employer or the employer’s insurance carrier for all necessary medical treatment and hospitalization.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits are payable on the fourth day lost to your injury.
Temporary Partial Benefits
Temporary partial benefits are applicable when you return to work on a part-time or lower wage rate. In Delaware, you are entitled to two-thirds difference between pre-injury and current wage. You may be eligible for 300 weeks of temporary partial benefits.
Permanent Impairment Benefits
Permanent impairment benefits fall into two subcategories known as “scheduled’ or “nonscheduled” losses. If your injury or illness is determined to be a “scheduled” loss, it would involve arms, legs, hands, feet, toes, fingers, eyes, and ears. A “nonscheduled” loss would apply to back, lungs, heart, etc.
Disfigurement benefits, depending on severity, are payable out to 150 weeks. You may file a petition one year post accident or surgery for amputation, scar, or burn related to a work injury.
Death benefits are payable to the worker’s dependents. Children are considered dependents until the age of 18 or if they are a full-time student until age 25. Children that are physically or mentally disabled may be eligible for more benefits. Employers or their insurance carrier is responsible for a portion of the funeral expenses.
How long do most workers comp settlements take in Delaware?
Although Delaware encourages prompt payment in benefits once a settlement is reached, workers’ compensation claims vary significantly in how quickly a settlement is reached. Some claims can be settled in 45-60 days, while the majority often take 4-6 months or longer. Key factors of the settlement are the seriousness of the injury, the settlement amount, and the particulars of each individual claim. The most common factor in delaying a settlement is the employers’ insurance company. More often than not, it is the insurance company who will dispute and extend the time it takes to reach a workers’ compensation settlement. Insurance companies try to minimize their loss by minimizing your settlement. Our expert workers’ comp attorneys will advocate for your rights and your settlement.