You may need to seek help from a Richmond Workers’ Comp attorney if you have been injured at work, or if your claim to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits has been denied. If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be entitled to receive benefits. These benefits can help cover a portion of your income and your medical expenses. An attorney can help determine the value of your case.
History of Workers’ Compensation Laws
There hasn’t always been compensation available to injured workers. In fact, there was a time during the Industrial Revolution that, as a result of dangerous working environments, injuries and deaths happened frequently. There were also no limits on the number of hours employees could work.
Many workers would suffer a serious disability or fatal injury caused by an industrial accident. Workers and their families were paid little, if anything, in compensation.
Those who were compensated were usually workers who could prove that it was their employer’s negligence. If the worker was in any way at fault, or knew of the risks involved in the job and still performed the duties, they likely wouldn’t receive any form of compensation. Today, workers are entitled to compensation even if they are at fault, and it is no longer held against workers if they choose to work in a dangerous environment.
It was in 1908 that President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. This was designed to provide compensation to railroad workers who were injured on the job.
Workers’ Compensation laws in some states started to pop up, but received legal challenges in the early 1900s. The state of New York declared a 1910 law unconstitutional.
On March 25, 1911, a factory fire in New York killed 146 workers. The employer had kept the doors to the factory locked, so victims of the fire suffered burns, asphyxiation, and fatal injuries as they jumped to their deaths.
This helped shine a light on the need for greater safety and improvement in the rights of injured workers. Several states began to adopt Workers’ Compensation laws, and by 1948, the entire nation had passed the new laws.
Although this was a win for workers, it also prevented them from being able to sue their employers. This is true today. An injured worker cannot file a Workers’ Compensation claim and file a lawsuit against his or her employer.
Despite the passing of these laws, there was still room for improvement. In 1970, President Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A couple of years later, further recommendations were made to improve the laws, which not only allows for broad coverage to workers injured on-the-job, but also allows them to receive a portion of their income.
In addition, greater safety standards have been enforced, and workers are also entitled to receive benefits in a timely manner. Yet, with the passing of these laws to protect injured workers, the fight with insurance companies began. These battles continue today.
Insurance companies have attempted to lower benefits, make eligibility requirements difficult, and obtain responsibility for decisions pertaining to a worker’s medical treatment. This is why many injured workers find themselves turning to an attorney.
Seeking Help from a Richmond Workers’ Comp Attorney
You may have every right to be compensated when you have sustained a work-related injury or illness. Yet your employer or their insurance company may attempt to deny your rights.
The claims process can be a complicated one. You may better understand how it works by ordering our FREE book, the Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia. Then you should contact an attorney at the Injured Workers Law Firm. We will provide a no-cost consultation – 877-755-7744 or 804-755-7755.