Know Your Rights- Delaware Workers’ Comp

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Know Your Rights- Delaware Workers’ Comp

By Heather A. Long, Esquire

Maya Angelou has said “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

When workers are injured, they do the best that they know how to do in navigating the Workers’ Compensation system. My first meeting with an injured worker is spent imparting knowledge to empower them to do better, once they understand how the process works and what their rights are. Yes- RIGHTS! There are several benefits that injured workers are entitled to as a matter of law, and which they often either do not know about or do not fully understand. Understanding your rights will help you get the best medical treatment available in order to make the best medical recovery possible. This article will give you a very broad overview of those rights. Keep in mind, every case is different, so a free office or telephone consultation would be the most valuable source of information to tailoring these benefits to your particular issues. Workers’ compensation is generally a “no fault” benefit because it does not matter whose fault your injury is, only that you are injured while in the course and scope of your employment.

What are injured workers entitled to under the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Act?

1. Disability Benefits

Your wage rights under the workers’ compensation laws in Delaware are based on your average weekly wage (AWW for short). Workers’ compensation wage benefits can pay up to 2/3 of your AWW, up to a limit of $725.89.

This benefit is designed to replace your wages when you can’t work for 3 or more days due to your work injury. This benefit is also available on a partial basis if your doctor restricts your work hours or work duties, which results in you earning lower wages.  

2. Medical Benefits

If you are injured in the course and scope of your employment, you are entitled to medical benefits for the rest of your life as long as the treatment is reasonable, necessary and related to the work injury, and your Delaware caregiver is also certified under the Workers’ Compensation Statute. (If you see an out-of-state doctor, they do not have to be certified under the Workers’ Compensation Statute.) A list of certified providers can be found on the Department of Labor’s website.

The worker’s compensation insurance company must pay at least one medical bill every 5 years in order to keep this benefit active! 

3. Mileage

You are entitled to mileage reimbursement of forty cents (.40) per mile, roundtrip for your doctors appointments.  

4. Scarring/ Disfigurement

If you were unfortunate enough to have suffered a scar or other physical disfigurement as a result of your work injury, you are generally entitled to compensation. Any scar and/or disfigurement that is visible when properly clothed can be awarded a monetary settlement. The amount of the settlement is determined by the location, size and visibility of the scar. Also, if you walk with a limp as a result of your work injury, or need to use any devices permanently (crutches, wheelchair, etc.) you may also qualify for this benefit.

5. Permanent Partial Impairment

If your work injury is permanent, you may be entitled to a lump sum payment. The amount of this recovery is based on a formula which takes into account the part of your body that was injured, your percentage of impairment and your workers’ compensation rate of pay.    

As every work-related accident is unique, all of the rights listed above will not necessarily apply to every case. If you are injured at work, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with the necessary knowledge about your rights under the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Act. In order to do better, you first have to know better!  

I highly recommend that you hire an attorney to guide you and protect you through the workers’ compensation system. I offer free consultations with no attorney’s fee to be paid until your case is settled. This gives you the peace of mind you need in order to focus on the most important thing- your health.

For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, please call (302) 565-6132
or email her directly at [email protected]

Bio

Heather has been an attorney for over ten years, and is currently practicing Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Law as a partner at Kimmel, Carter, Roman, Peltz & O’Neill, P.A. with offices in Newark and Wilmington. Heather worked her way through law school as a paralegal in a personal injury firm. After passing the bar exam, she spent several years working as a defense attorney, representing local, regional and national companies. With the knowledge gained about the inner-workings of these companies, she now represents injured workers and personal injury plaintiffs. 

Heather is a graduate of Widener University School of Law, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to attending law school, she was licensed as a paramedic and spent time volunteering for her local ambulance corps. She is also a former mock trial coach for Friends, Salesianum and Newark High School.

Heather is licensed to practice law in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Know Your Rights- Delaware Workers’ Comp