New Hampshire workers’ compensation law was enacted to ensure that employees injured on the job and workers affected by occupational illnesses have access to the medical care and disability payments they need to care for themselves and their families. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and benefits are paid to employees on a “no fault” basis. That means that the injured employee doesn’t have to prove that the employer was negligent or caused the injury.
When workers’ compensation operates as intended, this makes it quicker and easier for employees who are sick or injured to get the benefits they need, and eliminates the need for a contentious, finger-pointing process between the employer and the employee.
Unfortunately, a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t always play out that smoothly. Like other insurance carriers, workers’ compensation insurance companies only make money if they take in more in premiums than they pay out in operating costs and benefits to injured workers. So, paying out significant claims goes against the insurer’s interests.
Although the New Hampshire workers’ compensation statute does not contain the tight notification timelines many other states do, there are still many obstacles for injured workers and those who have become ill as a result of their working environment. Some of the most common ways workers’ compensation claim can go wrong include:
• The employer delaying or failing to provide necessary information to the insurance carrier
• The insurance carrier failing to make a timely determination on the claim
• The insurance carrier denying the workers’ compensation claim altogether
• The insurance carrier determining that the injured worker is entitled to more limited benefits than is appropriate
It is generally to your benefit to contact an experienced New Hampshire workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you encounter difficulties or conflict.
The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is required to pay all necessary medical bills resulting from an on-the-job injury or occupational illness, including mileage to doctor’s appointments and reimbursement for prescription drugs.
In addition to medical care, workers’ compensation provides protection for the injured employee’s income. The benefits offered and how they are calculated vary depending on the circumstances. For example:
• If the employee is temporarily unable to work at all, he or she is entitled to 60% of regular earnings, subject to weekly minimum and maximum rates set annually
• If the employee is able to work, but is restricted to lower-paying work, he or she may be entitled to partial benefits to compensation for the reduction in wages
• The employee may be entitled to temporary reassignment to a job he or she can perform in accordance with medical restrictions
New Hampshire workers’ compensation also provides death benefits to dependents of workers killed on the job, vocational rehabilitation services to injured workers who are unable to resume their previous type of employment.
Workers who have suffered permanent injuries such as amputation of a limb, loss of use of a limb, serious spinal cord injuries, or other specifically listed impairment may be entitled to lump-sum compensation for that loss, based on a pre-determined formula.
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you have the right to request an administrative hearing. Sometimes, simply providing additional documentation will be sufficient to get your claim approved, but every case is different. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you put together the strongest case possible, and present that evidence on your behalf.
The workers’ compensation statute provides for attorneys’ fees to be paid as a percentage of your award, so you can take advantage of knowledgeable legal assistance without worrying about up-front payment.
Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your rights. Just call 978-459-1792
We also handle Massachusetts workers’ compensation cases.
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