Employees injured in workplace accidents may be entitled to benefits through the Delaware Industrial Accident Board. Created by the Delaware Legislature, workers' compensation is a type of insurance carried by employers that provides medical care, temporary total disability payments, and compensation for permanent impairments to workers hurt on the job.
If you were recently injured in an on-the-job accident, here's what you need to know about filing a workers' compensation claim in Delaware. You can contact the experienced Workers' Compensation Attorneys at Morris James Personal Injury Group by filling out a contact form.
Notifying an Employer of an Occupational Injury or Illness
To begin the workers' compensation claims process, workers should immediately notify their employer of any on-the-job injuries and request medical treatment. Waiting too long to notify an employer of a work-related injury or illness could jeopardize an injured workers' ability to collect the compensation they deserve, as employers are not required to begin administering benefits until they've received this notification.
Filing a Claim With the Office of Workers' Compensation
After receiving an employee's notification of an injury on the job and request for medical treatment, the employer is required to file a First Report of Injury form with the Delaware Industrial Accident Board.
The employer's workers' compensation insurance provider then contacts the claimant to inform him or her of the claim's acknowledgment or denial. If the claim was acknowledged, the employer and injured employee sign an agreement to benefits, a copy of which is filed with the Delaware Industrial Accident Board (IAB).
Appealing a Denied Claim
Not all workers' compensation claims result in an amicable resolution. Fortunately, the denial of a claim or an employer's refusal to agree to benefits isn't the end of the line for workers injured on the job.
If a claim is denied or the employer won't agree to benefits, the employee can file a petition with the IAB, triggering a hearing during which the board's decision is issued. Should the claim be denied by the IAB, the worker has the option of further appealing the decision to the state's Superior and Supreme Courts.
Barriers to Workers' Compensation Benefits
There are things that injured or ill workers can do that could potentially make it difficult—or even impossible—for them to collect workers' compensation benefits. Barriers to workers' compensation benefits can include:
If the employee sustained an occupational injury while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in an altercation with another worker, or while engaging in horseplay, he may not be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
Injuries Occurred Outside the Scope of Employment
In order to be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, an employee's injury must have occurred within the course and scope of his or her employment.
Statutes of Limitations
Injured or ill workers must comply with very strict deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, when filing a workers' compensation claim or appealing a denied claim:
- If a claim is denied or the employer refuses to agree to benefits, workers injured on the job have two years to file a petition with the IAB.
- If the IAB denies the claim, employees have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Superior Court.
- If the Superior court denies the claim, workers have another 30 days to appeal the decision to the Delaware Supreme Court.
Do You Need a Workers' Compensation Attorney?
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you understand your legal rights and oversee that the claims process goes smoothly. Contact us today to schedule a free initial case consultation.