Top 5 (FAQ) Questions – Workmen’s Comp Cases
The world of Worker’s Compensation (WC) and Work Related Injuries can very often become a complicated, stressful and traumatic experience. Knowing your rights as an injured worker is imperative.
Finding an experienced Doctor that understands those rights and can navigate the Workmans’ Compensation system can be a great benefit for an injured worker, saving undue stress, time, and money.
1. What is Workmans’ or Workers’ Compensation? (WC)
Full-time, part-time, permanent and temporary employees are covered under Hawaii WC laws. (List of employees not covered) Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program that covers liability of the employer. A WC policy will cover medical bills and lost wages when an employee is injured on the job, regardless of fault.
2. I’ve been hurt on the job, how do I file a claim?
- Day 1: Report the incident immediately with your employer. This ensures timely payment of your medical bills.
- Day 3: Within three days of the incident, your employer should provide you with a copy of the brochure, Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Law.
- Day 7: Your employer is required to submit your claim (Form WC-1, the “Employers Report of Industrial Injury/Illness) within 7 days after they are notified of your first day of absence.
- Day 8: If, after 7 days, your employer refuses to submit your claim, please contact the State of Hawaii Disability Compensation Division or the nearest Department of Labor and Industrial Relations District Office to file Form WC-5, “Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits.”
3. Who can I receive treatment from? What are my Rights?
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT under HAWAII state LAW to CHOOSE your own physician. That doctor can then refer you to other specialists. Remember, regardless of the insurance that your employer has established, YOU have the RIGHT to choose any doctor that accepts WC insurance.
My Doctor vs. Employers/Insurance Company Physician – Don’t get caught short. Your personal doctor will advocate for a full course of treatment, utilizing a variety of specialists like chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, dentist, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, etc. On occasion, some employers might give the impression that an injured worker should go to certain clinics or doctors, sometimes driven by wanting to contain their costs. Remember your right to choose under Hawaii State Law.
4. What type of Benefits or wage compensations am I entitled to?
- Wage compensation for Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is equal to 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage. The TTD compensation is received after a 3 day waiting period, is based on your wages, and will not exceed the maximum weekly benefit amount annually set by the State of Hawaii.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) awards an indemnity benefit that is determined after point-of-stabilization, and is based on your physician’s evaluation of the extent of your permanent impairment. The PPD benefit is payable even after you have returned to work.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are determined at a hearing held by the State of Hawaii Disability Compensation Division. This occurs if you are permanently unable to work.
- Relax, workers with two or more jobs are usually still covered with Concurrent Employment Benefits. Have BOTH your employers fill out Form WC-14 to determine your eligibility.
5. I have a dispute, should I hire a lawyer?
You have the right to appeal the WC insurer’s decision regarding your claim. You may hire an attorney, but you are not required to do so. Attorney’s fees must be approved by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations District Office on Maui. Attorney’s fees usually are established as a lien upon your workers’ compensation benefits.
Worker’s Compensation Resources:
- Department of Labor and Industrial Relations District Office – 808-243-5322 – 2264 Aupuni Street, Wailuku 96793
- Pacific Spine & Rehab - contact our office here