How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Vermont?
If you are injured on the job in Vermont, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your lost wages and medical expenses. Sometimes, employers try to capitalize on their workers’ unfamiliarity or ignorance of the workers’ compensation system to avoid paying a fair settlement.
In these cases, or in cases where a person is very seriously injured or permanently disabled, it is important to seek legal assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The post provides a general overview of the workers’ compensation process in Vermont.
Seeking Medical Attention for a Work Injury
When you are injured at work, you will want to inform your employer of the injury and seek medical attention right away. Sometimes an injury is not immediately apparent, and will develop over several hours, days, or even weeks. If this is the case, inform your employer as soon as you become aware of the injury. Document your injuries carefully.
In Vermont, you have the right to choose the physician that treats you for workplace injuries. Unless you work part-time, your employer will need to pay you for the time you are off work for medical appointments.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Vermont
Once your employer has been informed of the injury, they have 72 hours to file a claim with their insurance carrier and/or notify the Vermont Department of Labor. Remember to request a copy of all forms filed in your case.
If your employer fails to report your injury, you can do so yourself by submitting a Form 5 Employee’s Notice of Injury and Claim for Compensation to the Department of Labor.
Once a claim is filed, your employer’s insurance company has 21 days to accept or deny your claim. If the insurance company sends you forms to fill out, make sure you complete and return them as soon as possible, or your claim may be denied.
If your claim is approved, you will begin receiving weekly payments for temporary disability benefits. You will also be reimbursed for all medical bills and expenses.
Appealing a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim
If the insurance carrier denies or partially denies your claim, or stops payment of benefits too soon, you can fight these decisions. The Vermont Department of Labor will set up an “informal conference” between you, the insurance company, and a workers’ compensation specialist.
The specialist will listen to the facts and arguments presented by both parties and make a decision in your case. It is recommended you have a skilled workers’ compensation attorney on your side during this conference.
If either you or the insurance company disagrees with the Department of Labor’s decision, you can request a formal hearing. If you have not already obtained legal representation for your workers’ compensation claim, this would be the time to do so.
You will usually be ordered or encouraged to attend mediation before the formal hearing. If you and the insurance company cannot come to a solution through mediation, the formal hearing will be held at the Vermont Department of Labor, and the hearing officer will issue a final decision in your case.
If you disagree with the Department of Labor’s decision, you can appeal again to the Vermont Superior Court or the Vermont Supreme Court, depending on the disputed issue.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Woodstock, VT
If you were injured on the job and your claim has been denied, contact Sabbeth Law to schedule a free consultation. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case and help you recover the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled.