Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Wisconsin
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In Wisconsin, workers’ compensation is available to most employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses, including occupational diseases. Because it is a no-fault system, you do not need to prove that your employer (or any other party) was negligent in order to qualify for benefits.
At Lawton & Cates, we assist injured workers with all aspects of workers’ compensation. Whether you need help filing your initial claim or have already had your claim denied, our attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options. We are prepared to advocate for you and fight to secure maximum benefits on your behalf. With two offices located in Jefferson and Madison, our workers’ compensation lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Who Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Wisconsin?
The state of Wisconsin requires all employers (other than farmers) with three or more employees to provide workers’ compensation for all employees. Employers who have fewer than three employees must also provide workers’ compensation if they pay at least $500 in wages during any quarter of a single calendar year. Farm-industry employers must have workers’ compensation if they employ at least six employees for 20 or more days in a single calendar year.
Essentially, this means that most employees in the state of Wisconsin are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Note that to be covered, however, you must be classified as an “employee.” Workers’ compensation does not extend to workers who are classified as “independent contractors.”
What Types of Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Comp?
Any injury arising from employment is covered by workers’ compensation. This means that if you were injured on the job or while carrying out duties or activities related to your employment, and you meet all other qualification requirements, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
In Wisconsin, the following types of job-related injuries are covered by workers’ compensation:
- Physical Injuries: Any physical injury, regardless of severity, is covered by workers’ comp if the injury is related to the individual’s employment. This includes injuries such as cuts, bruises, burns, broken bones, sprains, strains, loss of limb, head injuries, back pain, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more.
- Mental Harm: Workers’ compensation also covers certain mental injuries related to a worker’s employment. Examples include mental and behavioral health disorders arising from head or brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic neurosis. If a worker sustains a mental health injury that is not the result of a physical injury, they may only recover workers’ compensation benefits if they can prove that the injury resulted from something other than typical everyday stress or tension related to their work.
- Accident-Related Injuries: In addition to injuries related to the worker’s employment, workers’ compensation covers all injuries resulting from on-the-job accidents. This includes both physical and mental harm resulting from a sudden and/or unexpected incident in the workplace or while the employee is actively carrying out job-related duties or activities.
- Occupational Illnesses: Workers’ compensation benefits are also available to individuals who suffer occupational illnesses. An occupational illness (or disease) results from one-time or repeated exposure to harmful conditions, activities, or substances. Examples of occupational diseases include hearing loss, skin infections, respiratory illness, carpal tunnel syndrome, hernias, pneumonia, mesothelioma, and more.
If you believe that your injury or illness is covered by workers’ compensation, it is important that you follow the correct steps in seeking your benefits. If you fail to follow the appropriate processes, you may lose your opportunity to recover compensation.
What to Do If You Suffer a Work-Related Injury or Illness
If you are injured at work, are diagnosed with an occupational illness, or suffer any type of job-related injury or illness, make sure you take the following steps:
- First, seek immediate medical attention. If necessary, call 911. Otherwise, go to the hospital, urgent care, or your doctor right away.
- Next, make sure you report your injury to your employer. In Wisconsin, you must report all work-related injuries and illnesses within seven days.
- Once you have reported the injury, make sure to follow your doctor’s orders and advice. Remember, your employer must allow you to choose your own doctor if you wish.
- You should also file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible, as there is a two-year statute of limitations on workers’ comp claims in Wisconsin.
- Lastly, you should reach out to an attorney who can help you understand your rights and help you navigate any disputes that may arise.
Although you are not required by law to have a workers’ compensation attorney, there are many benefits to working with an experienced legal professional. At Lawton & Cates, our Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorneys provide free consultations and personalized service throughout the legal process. We can help ensure that you do not miss any important filing deadlines or make any mistakes that could jeopardize your benefits. Our attorneys can also represent you if your employer disputes your claim or if their insurance company refuses to pay you the benefits you are owed.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin workers’ compensation system offers qualified individuals the following benefits:
- Medical Benefits: Workers’ compensation pays for all medical expenses related to your qualified injury. This includes costs associated with emergency care, ongoing treatments, medications, medical devices or equipment, rehabilitation, and more. Medical benefits also pay for travel costs to and from medical appointments.
- Temporary Disability: You may qualify for temporary partial disability (TPD) or temporary total disability (TTD) depending on the severity of your injury and your ability to work (or not) during your recovery. Temporary benefits are calculated based on a percentage of your wages and are paid until you can return to work at full capacity or until your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
- Permanent Disability: If your doctor decides that you have reached MMI and you have a permanent disability that prevents you from working at full capacity or at all, you may qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) or permanent total disability (PTD). Your eligibility and the amount you can receive in PPD or PTD benefits depends on your impairment rating, which is calculated based on the severity of your disability and/or disfigurement.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: If your injury leaves you with physical or mental impairments that make it difficult or impossible for you to return to your past employment, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits pay for certain costs associated with job retraining and reentry into the workforce.
- Death Benefits: Lastly, workers’ compensation in Wisconsin provides death benefits to eligible surviving family members when an employee dies due to a work-related injury or illness. Spouses and children under 18, as well as adult children who are incapacitated, typically qualify for death benefits. If no spouse or children exist, other surviving family members may be eligible for these benefits depending on their degree of dependence on the deceased. The state also pays up to $10,000 for reasonable burial and/or funeral expenses.
Our team at Lawton & Cates can help you determine whether you qualify for these benefits. We are happy to answer your questions and address your concerns during a free case evaluation.
Fighting for Injured Workers Throughout Wisconsin
Our Wisconsin workers’ compensation lawyers are passionate about helping injured employees get back on their feet. You have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits, and our team can help you navigate this complex process. We are prepared to handle all of the necessary paperwork so that you can focus on what matters most: healing.
Whether you need help filing your first claim or wish to appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim, do not hesitate to contact our team at Lawton & Cates. We offer free consultations and contingency fees for all workers’ compensation services. This means that you do not pay anything upfront; instead, we only recover attorney fees if we secure compensation on your behalf.