HOW WORKERS’ COMPENSATION WORKS IN VERMONT
Workers’ compensation insurance (i.e. “workers’ comp”) helps cover work-related injuries and illnesses, including repetitive stress injuries. If you are employed in Vermont, chances are your employer has workers’ compensation insurance.
To schedule a free consultation regarding workers’ comp, contact us today!
Any Vermont employee seeking workers’ compensation can be granted up to 104 weeks (that’s nearly 2 years!) of compensation benefits following an injury or illness. After that, Vermont’s Department of Labor can decide to continue benefits.
Vermont law requires workers’ compensation of all employers with at least one employee. A few exceptions to this law include: (1) companies with up to four corporate officers or LLC members; (2) a corporation where every corporate officer is excluded from coverage; (3) an LLC with no members; and (4) independent contractors.
The Most Common Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims
Vermont workers’ compensation coverage can help workers with virtually any illness or injury. Common claims include: wrist pain from typing on a work computer; emergency room visits after a trip or fall at the business; or burns from working in a restaurant kitchen.
Beware: What Worker’s Compensation Covers, And What It Doesn’t
Once filed, a workers’ compensation claim can help (1) pay for medical care and ongoing care costs like surgery or physical therapy; (2) replace lost wages due to injury or illness; (3) provide disability benefits if you are temporarily or permanently disabled; (4) pay for funeral costs if, sadly, life is lost; and (5) cover the cost of vocational rehabilitation, if you are unable to return to work after getting sick or hurt.
Vocational rehabilitation under workers’ compensation benefits includes training and support to help you return to work. An employee can request vocational rehabilitation through the employer. Alternatively, your employer’s insurance carrier can help you create a plan for your return to work.
As vital as this universal benefit program is to employees, filing a workers’ comp claim does automatically forfeit your right to compensation for any damages in the way of “pain and suffering” and “loss of enjoyment of life.”
In the rare case that your illness or injury involves a third-party, an attorney may be able to bring a claim against the additional party responsible to ensure a more complete compensation outcome for you. Before you file your workers’ comp claim, speak with an attorney to help you better assess your individual situation.
I Filed My Workers’ Compensation Claim. Now What?
Once a “First Report of Injury” is filed with the insurance company, it may take up to 21 days to approve or deny a workers’ comp claim. Once approved, your “Temporary Total Disability” (i.e. “TTD”) benefits kick-in and you can expect to receive two-thirds or 66% of your average weekly pay. If you are permanently disabled, workers’ compensation benefits cover that, too.
Consider hiring an attorney experienced in workers’ comp claims. Sadly, it is not unheard of that workers’ benefits, of which you are legally entitled, could be delayed or denied due to complex legal and medical issues with a claim. The more you understand your legal rights pertaining to workers’ compensation, the more likely you are to recover all benefits of the program to which you are eligible.
In Vermont, two different state agencies are involved with the Worker’s Compensation system: the Department of Labor, which handles the general administration of the program and any issues arising from a claim; and the Department of Financial Regulation’s Insurance Division, which handles insurers and the insurance market.
If an employer is having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation coverage with an insurer, contact Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation (800-964-1784) to learn more about the assigned-risk pool.
If you or someone you know needs help filing or negotiating terms of a workers’ comp claim, call us at 802-257-2221, use our quick and easy Contact Form, or stop by our offices conveniently located in downtown Brattleboro at 42 Park Place (the raspberry-colored building!).
Our team has built a reputation for compassionate and fierce advocacy on behalf of our clients. As our client, you can expect us to take care of all of the legal, privacy and insurance-related issues surrounding your case so that you can focus on building a brighter future.