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What Workers' Compensation Benefits are You Entitled to in Delaware?

In the unfortunate event that you are injured at work, it is crucial to understand the benefits you are entitled to under Delaware workers' compensation law, and how to access them. When you are dealing with an injury, mounting medical bills, and unpaid leave, you may need financial support without delay to be able to provide for yourself and your family. The workers' compensation attorneys at Morris James can help with this.

Our attorneys will advise you on benefits you may be entitled to under the workers’ compensation rules in Delaware, and are committed to getting you the support that you need after an injury at work. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys, contact us online or by calling 302.655.2599.

What is workers' compensation?

Workers' compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. It is designed to ensure that employees receive appropriate medical treatment and compensation for loss of wages or permanent disability or disfigurement as a result of a work-related illness or injury. 

The specifics of the benefits and processes vary from state to state, but in general, workers' compensation covers medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and a portion of lost wages. In the case of fatal accidents, it provides benefits to the deceased worker's family. Administration of a worker’s compensation claim can be complex, tedious, and frustrating. You should therefore discuss your workers’ compensation claim with an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation, like the attorneys at Morris James, before making any decisions that may jeopardize your right to full and fair compensation for your work-related injuries.

What are the different types of workers’ compensation benefits in Delaware?

There are five distinct categories of benefits provided by the Delaware workers’ compensation system. You may be entitled to more than one of these depending on the circumstances of your individual situation. Make sure that you discuss your injury and prognosis with your attorney so that they can advise you on the benefits that you are eligible for.

Medical Benefits cover all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the work injury. This includes surgeries, hospital stays, X-rays and other imaging, dental services, prescription medications, physical therapy, and even prosthetic devices. You are entitled to choose any physician who is worker’s compensation certified in Delaware when using workers' comp medical benefits, but your employer can require you to see a doctor of their choosing to confirm your injuries and treatment.

Temporary Total Disability Benefits (T.T.D.) provide coverage for lost wages when you miss more than three days of work due to work related illness or injury. If you miss seven days or more, you are entitled to T.T.D. for the entire disability period, including the first three days. T.T.D. covers two-thirds of your gross weekly wages based on your rate of pay at the time of your injury subject to minimum and maximum limits set annually. As of July 1, 2023, the minimum weekly limit is $289.18 and the maximum weekly limit is $867.52.

Temporary Partial Benefits (T.P.D.) are for situations where you can return to work but cannot earn the same wages because you are forced to work part-time or at a lower rate of pay as a result of your injury. T.P.D. benefits are two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages, subject to a 300-week maximum.

Permanent Impairment Benefits come into play if the work injury leads to a permanent impairment. These benefits compensate you for the permanent impairment itself, rather than for your loss of wages because of the injury. Permanent Impairment Benefits are calculated according to the particular body part or body parts that are injured. A doctor knowledgeable on the permanent impairments set forth in the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment provides a percentage, which is then applied to the body part(s). This results in a dollar amount one is entitled to for the permanent impairment to their body. 

Disfigurement Benefits take into account if the work-related injury results in visible scarring, disfigurement, or other aesthetic changes that might affect your personal or professional life. Such disfigurement can occur from an injury or from the medical procedures necessary to treat your injury. In Delaware, if you have sustained a disfiguring injury to the face, neck, or head, or any part of the body that is exposed in your work, you can file for disfigurement benefits after one year. The amount and duration of these benefits depend largely on the extent and impact of the disfigurement.

Death Benefits are available to the dependents of a worker who dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness. Dependents are defined in Delaware law as the spouse and dependent children of the deceased worker. If the worker does not leave behind a spouse or children, their dependent parents, followed by dependent siblings, may be eligible for death benefits. The benefits include funeral expenses up to a maximum of $3,500, and wage loss benefits based on the deceased worker's wages.

Why do you need a lawyer for a Delaware workers' compensation claim?

The workers’ compensation system in Delaware, as in other states, is complicated. There are specific rules about when you are eligible for benefits, how much you are eligible for, and how to apply. If you miss a deadline, or misunderstand the rules that apply to you, you may delay your benefits or not receive all of the compensation that you are entitled to. Engaging a workers' compensation attorney can be pivotal to getting all of the benefits that you are entitled to in an efficient and timely manner. 

An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, like the team at Morris James, can ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and entitlements. If your claim is denied, or if your employer disputes the nature and extent of your injury, a workers’ compensation attorney becomes essential. An attorney can effectively communicate with the workers' compensation insurer on your behalf, gather necessary medical evidence to support your claim, represent you at hearings, and negotiate a settlement.

What should you do if you have been injured at work?

If you have been injured at work or have contracted a work-related illness, it is important to take immediate steps to protect yourself and your right to benefits. First, seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if your injuries seem minor. Your health is your first priority, and even seemingly minor injuries can develop into a chronic or serious ailment. Keep all medical records, medical bills, and receipts of related expenses. They will be important to your claim.

You should also inform your employer about the incident and make sure to document all aspects of the accident and your injuries in as much detail as possible. A workers’ compensation attorney can help with this and ensure that your documentation supports your rightful claim to benefits. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to help guide you through the process of completing required paperwork, filing a claim, and getting the benefits that are your legal entitlement. 

Why choose Morris James for your workers’ compensation claim?

When you are dealing with the treatment, recovery, and financial stress of a work-related injury, you need someone on your side who will get you the financial support you need quickly and without unnecessary drama. The Morris James workers’ compensation attorneys, conveniently based in offices throughout Delaware, have been handling workers’ compensation claims for years. We understand the rules and nuances of the Delaware workers’ compensation system and have built a network of local connections to deal with problems quickly and efficiently that may arise. We also have an experienced team of paralegals and other non-attorney staff focused on your case. Our attorneys understand that you have been injured unexpectedly and through no fault of your own and will work to make sure you are treated fairly and can move forward with financial security after your injury.  

At Morris James, our attorneys have been standing up for victims since we opened our doors in 1932. If you have been injured at work, our workers’ compensation attorneys can help. You may find answers to your questions in our Workers’ Compensation FAQs or you can contact us online or at 302.655.2599 to talk to one of our experienced team about your claim.

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