Construction sites are dangerous places with scaffolding, cranes, power tools, ladders, forklifts, bulldozers and hundreds of other safety hazards. When a construction worker suffers an on-the-job injury, he or she may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits from the employer’s insurance carrier.
Reporting Construction Work Injuries:
When a construction worker is injured on the job, he or she should notify the employer immediately. The employer should then send the injured worker to a doctor. The worker is not required to pay for any medical care that has been approved by the employer.
The employee has the right to choose a medical provider from the employer’s preferred provider program or to elect another provider. If the employee is not satisfied with that provider’s care, he or she may choose another provider. However, after choosing two physicians, approval from the Workers’ Compensation Commission is required before choosing another.
Temporary Total (TTD) or Temporary Partial (TPD) Disability Benefits:
In addition to medical care, the injured worker is eligible for either TTD or TPD benefits if the employee cannot do his or her usual job or cannot work for an entire shift. The employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier pays this benefit after a waiting period of three days.
Denial or Delay of Injury by Employer:
If an employer does not accept a worker’s injury or delays acceptance, the injured worker can litigate the case before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. This can be accomplished by retaining an attorney or proceeding through the court system without an attorney.
Litigating Construction Work Injuries:
The Commission is brought into the action by filing an Application for Adjustment of Claim. This is assigned a case number and judge. Additional paperwork can be filed with the Commission for the purpose of expediting a hearing on TTD, TPD or some other issue. Otherwise, the case is placed on a rotating calendar and will be reviewed by a judge at a status hearing every three months.
The Commission requires that all cases continue moving forward throughout the duration of the case. If not, the judge may dismiss the case for lack of activity. At each three-month status check hearing, both sides must be able to show that the case is proceeding through the system. After three years, both sides must show good cause for continuing the case. Otherwise, the case will be dismissed.
Settlement and Award for Construction Work Injuries:
Most cases settle and are approved within two years of filing the Application with the Commission. The employee will receive a dollar amount that is slightly higher that the dollar amount of his or her permanent disability level.
Those cases that don’t settle will go to trial before the judge at the Commission. Both sides will present their case, and the judge will decide the outcome. If the injured worker prevails, he or she will receive a dollar amount for permanent disability paid in monthly installments until the award amount has been exhausted.