Workers Compensation claim filing and laws usually depend on the state you were injured in. As a general rule anyone hurt at work can file a claim but the procedure to do so will depend on the state where you were injured. Often it is just to report your injury in writing to the company but it may include filing with the state agency. You should be able to locate the phone number of the state agency that handles workers comp claims in the phone book. If you are unsure call a lawyer in this area. Often a consultation can be arranged at no charge. Usually a physician note can be presented (always keep a copy though) to your boss so he becomes aware of your condition. Obtain specific advice from either the state agency that handles workers compensation or better yet an attorney. Be aware however that at times work injury claims are contested or denied and this requires more that must be done. Your boss may look at the doctor's note and agree with the doctor or he may question it. In some states the doctor you go to must be done within the rules. Sometimes going to your personal doctor is not enough as the company may have some rights as well. In Colorado, for example, the company has the first right to designate the doctors you must go to so this can get quite technical. That is another reason you should get further information from the state agency or an attorney. Some states also have excellent websites on workers compensation proceedings so if your state has this check that out as well.
It depends on your state and your employment status at the time of injury. For example, if you were a railroad worker your claim would not fall under state workers’ compensation laws, but instead under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA). Similarly, if you were injured while working as a seaman on board a vessel in navigable waters, your claim would come under federal law under the Jones Act. If you were working for the federal government at the time of your injury your claim would likely come under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). On another note, if you were working as a longshoreman your claim would come under the Long Shore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). Finally, if you were working for your typical land based employer, then your claim would likely come under your state’s worker’s compensation laws. In sum, the first question to address concerns your job status, then contact an attorney with experience in any of the above areas of law.
Absolutely contact a worker's compensation lawyer first thing. You need a lawyer.
A very solid approach is to talk to friends and trusted persons in your community who have experienced a similar problem you face to get ideas about lawyers. Ask them who their lawyers were and how they rated the lawyer.
Lawyer referral services are another source of information. Many quality lawyer referral services exist to help you sort through all the basics about the lawyer. Those with the highest ratings that are offered can be a good place to start your specific search.
The best way to decide is by talking to the lawyer. The insight into the lawyer's approach can help you decide if the lawyer is right for you. Whether the lawyer is willing to spend a few hours to be your advisor may show you the lawyer will be aggressive in your case later on. Finally, don't make up your mind about hiring a lawyer until you've met him or her.
Click the Lawyer Search tab (upper right side on your screen) on Avvo and look for an experienced worker compensation attorney in your area.
Finally, you might find my Legal Guide helpful "What Do I Tell My Lawyer"?
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