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Workers' Compensation FAQs

How do I know if I qualify for workers' compensation?

Covered injuries include any type of injury, illness or condition that occurs at work or because of your work activities, an aggravation or re-injury of a pre-existing injury or condition, or conditions or injuries that develop gradually, such as low back conditions, repetitive motion injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers' comp also covers illnesses that are contracted in the workplace, or conditions that develop as a result of exposure to chemicals or toxins.

Who is eligible to collect workers' compensation benefits?

Employers with one or more employees are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. The requirements to receive workers' compensation benefits are established by law and administered by the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Industrial Affairs and Office of Workers' Compensation. Workers considered to be independent contractors, rather than employees, are not covered. Farm workers are also exempt from the workers' compensation statute.

If I'm injured at work, what are the first steps I should take in order to collect workers' compensation?

Report your injury to your employer immediately. Request that the employer complete a First Report of Occupational Injury or Disease and submit it to the Office of Workers' Compensation. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Tell your doctor you were hurt at work, explain your symptoms, and ask him or her to provide you with work restrictions, if appropriate. Provide those work restrictions to your employer. Follow your doctor's recommendations for treatment.

What benefits are available to me through Delaware workers' compensation?

All necessary medical treatment and hospitalization are provided by the employer or the employer's insurance carrier. The employee has the right to choose the treating physician.

  • Temporary total disability — If there is lost time that extends beyond three days due to the injury, temporary total disability benefits become payable starting with the fourth day lost. If the disability extends to seven days, the full disability period becomes compensable and no waiting period applies. The benefit amount is 66 2/3 percent of gross weekly wages received at the time of the injury, up to a maximum established annually by the secretary of labor.
  • Temporary partial benefits — If an employee returns to work part time or at a lower rate than his or her pre-injury wage, the employee may be entitled to two-thirds of the difference between the pre-injury wage and his or her current wage. Partial disability may be received up to 300 weeks.
  • Permanent impairment benefits — When a job-related injury or illness results in a permanent partial disability, benefits are based upon a percentage of certain "scheduled" or "nonscheduled" losses. A "scheduled" loss is one involving arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes and ears. A "nonscheduled" loss is one involving the back, heart, lungs, etc.
  • Disfigurement benefits — An employee may file a petition for disfigurement one year after an accident or surgery for any scar, burn or amputation related to a work accident. Disfigurement is paid out in a number of weeks up to 150 weeks, depending upon the severity of the scar.
  • Death benefits — When a job-related accident or illness results in a worker's death, benefits are payable to the dependents of the worker as defined by law. The weekly benefit payments are based upon the number of dependents, but the maximum total benefit payable to all of the worker's dependents cannot exceed 80 percent of the maximum rate established by the secretary of labor. A child who is deemed to be a dependent remains so until the age of 18, or until age 25 if the child is a full-time student. If a child is physically or mentally disabled, he or she may be eligible for further benefits. The employer or its insurance carrier is responsible to pay up to $3,500 in funeral expenses for a job-related death.
Can my employer fire me for filing a workers' compensation claim?

No. Delaware law prohibits an employer from firing an employee in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. Unfortunately, that does not always stop an employer or a supervisor from harassing you, trying to force you to quit, or fabricating a reason to fire you. Obtain legal representation if you are having problems at work after you've filed a workers' comp claim.

Do I really need a workers' compensation lawyer?

You are not required to hire a workers' compensation lawyer to file a claim. However, if your initial claim is denied, or if you decide not to accept the insurance company's offer because it will not cover your medical costs and lost income, you will enter into negotiations with the insurance company. Insurance providers have experienced, highly compensated lawyers who do this every day. Given the complexity of workers' compensation procedure and law, it is wise to put an experienced workers' compensation lawyer on your side. In most instances, we add value to a workers' compensation claim by putting more money in our clients' pockets even after our fees are paid. Our fees are set by Delaware law. If we do not obtain a recovery for you, you will not pay any attorney fees.

Meet With Our Experienced Delaware Workplace Injury Attorneys

We welcome the opportunity to answer all of your questions regarding on-the-job accidents and filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits during a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.

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