Unfortunately, back injuries are frequently sustained on the job. These injuries do not discriminate, occurring across countless industries and fields. Not only are back injuries excruciatingly painful, making every aspect of everyday life more difficult, but they can also leave a worker with a lot of uncertainty about their occupational future. Fortunately, workers’ compensation provides benefits for employees who become ill or sustain an injury during the course of their work duties.
Delaware Workers’ Compensation Explained
Delaware law requires nearly every employer to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy in place, providing benefits to workers should they become injured or ill within the scope of their job. Delaware’s workers’ compensation system operates on a no-fault basis, meaning workers are almost always entitled to these benefits following a workplace injury regardless of who bears the fault. These benefits provide coverage for a wide variety of costs associated with the injury, along with financial support for lost wages. These benefits cover:
- Medical bills, including prescription costs. These generally are covered and not reimbursed, meaning the worker likely won’t need to pay for medical costs out of pocket.
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
- Occupational rehabilitation, in cases where the injury prevents the worker from returning to their previous job. In these cases, Delaware provides vocational training to help the worker learn new occupational skills or find alternative employment.
- Travel expenses for any travel related to necessary medical treatments or occupational rehabilitation.
- Wage replacement, usually at a rate of two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, is also referred to as temporary total disability benefits.
- Permanent disability benefits, including permanent partial disability benefits and permanent total disability benefits.
- Compensation for a specific loss, which covers permanent impairments such as loss of limb, hearing, or sight.
- Death benefits for the employee’s spouse and children in cases where the injury or illness results in death, along with funeral expenses.
How Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation in Delaware?
Following a back injury, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Delaware as long as certain requirements are met.
- You’re an employee. Independent contractors are not typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Your injury was work-related. Your back injury must have happened while you were performing tasks or duties relating to your job. Generally, injuries sustained at the workplace during normal working hours will qualify.
- You reported your injury promptly. Delaware law requires that injured employees report their injury to their employers as soon they possibly can, advising that the notification take place within a 90-day window.
- You have medical documentation. You should seek immediate medical attention following a back injury, and it’s important to keep a thorough record of your treatment. This will serve as the majority of your evidence for your workers’ compensation claim.
- You file a workers’ compensation claim with the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation. After reporting your injury to your employer, the next step is filing an official workers’ compensation claim.
Employers and their insurance companies don’t make it easy for injured workers to receive workers’ compensation benefits, and they often fight to keep their profits over the wellbeing of their employees. They will try to argue that the injury wasn’t work related, undervalue the severity of your injury, and even try to pass off the injury as a pre-existing condition. That’s why you need an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorney who will fight back. Your attorney will make sure you have the right evidence lined up, advocate for you, and guide you through the process, ensuring you receive the benefits that you rightfully deserve.
Rhoades & Morrow: Experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Fighting Relentlessly to Uphold Your RightsIf you or a loved one have suffered a back injury on the job, you deserve to see just compensation. Trust a law firm with decades of experience fighting for the rights of Delaware workers. The skilled team at Rhoades & Morrow has dedicated an entire practice to fighting aggressively so clients like you see justice for their injuries. With offices in Wilmington, Newark, Milford, and Lewes, we proudly serve clients across the state of Delaware. We offer free, confidential, no-obligation consultations! Call us at (302)-427-9500 or fill out our online form today.