The Workers’ Accident Insurance system, created by Otto von Bismarck in Prussia in 1881 was the model for Europe and USA. By the late 19th century, U.S. policy-makers desired a workers injury compensation law but disagreed over following the German or the system in Britain. This German system was insurance-based removing employees’ right to sue, while the British system preserved the right to sue. Before compensation laws, USA dealt with employee injuries only through litigation and thereafter, opted for the German example.
In 1855, Alabama and Georgia passed the Employer Liability Acts and 26 states followed and ratified similar acts from 1855 until 1907. Early laws enabled injured employees to go ahead and sue their employer and prove an omission or negligent act, as set forth in Britain’s 1880 Act. But workers’ compensation laws differed from state to state whether voluntary or required. In some states, employers became liable for the cost of employees’ injuries. In some states, the employers were allowed to choose whether or not to come under compensation laws while in others, employers chose either system. A side-effect of early compensation laws, created incentives for employers to fire or refuse hiring employees with disabilities or health conditions that made them expensive to injure, such as a one-eyed person. By 1949, all American states had enacted and set in place a workers’ compensation program.
FILING THE FIRST INJURY REPORT
The claims process does not start with your injury but only upon the insurance company receiving the claim notice. You first report injuries to your employer or boss in writing and thereafter you ensure they file a “First Report of Injury” form. If they do not want to file this report, you either file it personally or get an attorney to file on your behalf. After filing this report and the insurance company contacts you, talk to a competent lawyer instead directly with the insurance company. Talking to Expert Compensation lawyers eliminates inadvertently hurting the claim when describing the accident or circumstances leading to it. In the USA, workers’ compensation is basically a state-based system and is compulsory for all employers in most states, except Texas. Due to complex paperwork, the process steps need to be better understood.
SCHEDULING OF THE DEPOSITION AND SETTLEMENT
Your deposition (usually treated as a recorded statement) is important as the insurer verifies injuries and claims and is used in the claims process, against you. Your attorney is essential during the deposition, as employee /Insurance Company attorneys and a court reporter attend these depositions. Your attorney discusses settlement amount expected or the offer made by the other party. If you counter initial offers, revised offers are possible. Reasonable compensation is discussed with your lawyer, without further dragging, if a reasonably close offer is made. If settlement is reached, paid medical expenses are deducted, with all involved signing the settlement. The judge signs the award letter, enabling payments sent to your lawyer.
Without agreement of settlement, the case proceeds to a hearing, where you appear before a judge to explain your various injuries as well and why you are eligible for a settlement. A lawyer is needed at this stage to ask questions related to the injuries and explain your position better. After the hearing, the judge gives a decision, leading to an amount being forwarded or an appeal is filed.