Workplace injuries are often severe, debilitating and disabling – requiring many workers to miss weeks or months on the job. Fortunately, many employers offer workers’ compensation not only provide workers with coverage should they face an accident, but to protect the employer from the costs of litigating a personal injury lawsuit.
If you were recently injured on the job, the Maine workers compensation attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing can assist you in getting your claim filed in a timely manner, and answer any questions you may have about other third-party injury claims that may be available to you.
Maine Workers’ Compensation Law
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy provided by an employer for the benefit of his/her employee. In return, the employee is prohibited from filing a lawsuit for damages against the employer or supervisor.
In the event of a workplace injury, workers’ compensation can provide the employee with the following:
- Weekly payments to cover lost wages
- Payment of medical expenses, prescription medications and related costs
- Payment for dismemberment (loss of a body part)
- Provision of vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits to surviving dependents
In any workers’ compensation case, the pivotal issue raised by many employers – who may be seeking to avoid payment of workers’ compensation benefits – is whether the accident occurred pursuant to an activity that is considered within the scope of employment.
It often becomes necessary to enlist the services of a Maine workers compensation lawyer to combat the assertions of an employer who is refusing to honor a claim under the guise that the employee was hurt while engaging in conduct that was not employment-related. If you are denied benefits, your construction accident attorney can assist you in appealing your case, which involves the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board.
Construction Accident Injuries
Construction accidents are some of the most common types of workers’ compensation claims. Construction workers are exposed to a hazardous environment, making workplace injuries all-too-common.
Our Portland, Maine personal injury attorneys can assist you if you were injured in any of these construction-related scenarios:
- Falling from heights
- Forklift or crane operation accidents
- Crane collapse
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Falling debris
- Injuries as a result of mechanical failure or defect
- Electrocution or electrical burns
Common accidents on the job
In addition to working with those employed in the construction field, our Portland, Maine-based personal injury attorneys are experienced and eager to help handle claims across a wide spectrum of industries. We understand the devastating setbacks a family can experience in the weeks and months following a severe workplace accident and will work diligently to ensure your claim is honored and your benefits are paid in a timely manner.
We can assist with any type of workplace injury, including:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Injuries involving the brain, spine or neurological system
- Exposure to carcinogenic toxins
- Hearing loss due to exposure to loud machinery
- Respiratory problems
- Tendonitis and other orthopedic injuries
- Exposure to asbestos
- Mental injury caused by mental stress
The Maine Workers’ Compensation Act covers a wide range of employees across a broad spectrum of industries.
Under the statute, the term “employee” is defined to include any of the following:
- Many (but not all) state, county and municipal employees;
- Maritime workers and those involved in foreign commerce;
- Emergency volunteer workers;
- Certain agriculture and aquaculture employees;
- Many employees of non-profit and/or religious organizations;
- Certain independent contractors;
- State and municipal employees designated to disaster relief areas;
- Public and private school teachers
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of employees covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act, and your attorney can help you better understand whether your workplace injury is likely covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Establishing a Claim in a Workers’ Compensation Case
If you are injured on the job, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act requires you to notify your employer within 30 days of the incident. Your employer is thereafter required to report your injury and fill out the necessary paperwork documenting the details of your claim. Your employer will then arrange for an examination by an occupational medical provider who will assess the extent of your injuries and whether you are able to return to work.
If your employer decides to deny your claim, he must do so within 14 days of your report. If you are denied, a Maine workers compensation lawyer can help you take your case to the next step.
The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board is responsible for handling and administering the appeals process following the denial of benefits. Appellate rules, which were recently amended in 2012, allow those with a claim the opportunity to re-present their claim to a hearing officer, followed by a hearing before a panel of at least three Board members.
As always, a workers’ compensation attorney can assist you through the entire appellate process and help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
Calculation of Damages
Under Maine’s workers’ compensation statute, certain injuries are assigned certain benefits based on their severity. In other words, the maximum benefit, which is calculated by the number of weeks the worker must miss work, ranges from moderately severe (e.g., partial incapacity) to the most severe (e.g., loss of both eyes, paralysis, loss of both legs).
For instance, an employee who lost his thumb in a work-related accident is presumed totally incapacitated for a maximum period of 65 weeks, whereas an employee who lost the use of his arm or required amputation as a result of a work-related injury is considered totally incapacitated for a maximum period of 265 weeks. During these periods of incapacity, a worker is entitled to two-thirds of his gross salary.
ME Workers Compensation Lawyers
Workers’ compensation law can be complex and frustrating, especially in the aftermath of a serious workplace injury. At Hardy, Wolf & Downing, our Maine personal injury attorneys can put our decades’ of combined experience to work for you – providing prompt responses to questions, aggressive representation, and compassionate counsel.
If you need help and guidance through the workers’ compensation process in Maine, give us a call to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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