Workers comp rights are available to injured workers to provide a form of financial protection while they are unable to work. Workmans compensation laws define benefits for disabled employees and offer payments for eligible medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages. Each state has specific laws so you need to make sure you learn about the law in your state.
Although workers injured on the job do not usually have to be represented by an attorney, it may be in their best interest. Workers compensation law can be complicated and workers are not usually experienced with it. However, many employers are experienced and may try to take advantage of how the system works. One possible scenario is that an employer could create a new position for an injured worker so that they can return to work. Then the employer lays off the worker maybe because the demand for that position has decreased. Now the worker is no longer eligible for workers comp and the employee's benefits are terminated.
Payments for lost wages under workers comp law are usually about 66% of the workers average gross income prior to the accident. Once again, note that the laws are different for each state so make sure you understand the laws for your state. In most states there is a period for which workers do not receive pay unless they are disabled for longer than a certain period of time. For example, if you are out of work for more than 7 days but less than 14 days, in some states you will not be paid for the first 7 days. However, if you are out longer than 14 days, you will receive payment for the first 7 days. This is just an example, makes sure you get the exact information for your state.
Each state has an agency that administers the law for workmans compensation. If you have questions about your rights as an injured worker, they usually have an 800 phone number and a website and are ready to provide information. Some states also have informational phamplets and 24/7 recorded information lines. Check the list of states on the left to find your state and the contact information for the agency in the state.