SBRS has a specialized Workers’ Compensation Group dedicated to defending workers’ compensation claims. The workers’ compensation system is intended to ensure that a worker who is injured on the job receives the medical treatment necessary for his recovery and financial compensation for his time missed from work. Workers’ compensation claims generally fall into two categories: accidental injury claims and occupational disease claims. The first steps in defending either claim is to challenge whether the injury was work related, if proper notice was provided, and whether the claim was timely. In order to recover, a claimant must establish that the injury occurred within the course and scope of the employment and that the injured person is a covered employee as opposed to an independent contractor. Notice must generally be provided within 120 days and the claim must be made within three years, though each state varies. SBRS attorneys have successfully defended workers’ compensation claims by establishing that proper notice was not given, the claim was time-barred, the injury was not work related or that the individual was an independent contractor. Additionally, the attorneys in SBRS’ Workers’ Compensation Group are skilled in defending both accidental injury and occupational disease claims for their clients.
Accidental Injury Claims
An employer may have a total defense to an accidental injury claim if it can demonstrate the injury was caused by horseplay, willful misconduct, intentional or self-inflicted injuries, intoxication or illegal drug use or an idiopathic condition. Each state differs with respect to the ability to utilize or raise these defenses and it is important to retain counsel, like the attorneys at SBRS, who are knowledgeable and experienced with regards to the individual state requirements.
Occupational Disease Claim
Occupational diseases are those injuries or illness that arise as a result of the working conditions inherent in the employment or to which the employee was exposed. Typical examples would be the occurrence of asthma in a worker who was continuously exposed to irritating chemicals, or beryllium disease in workers who are exposed to beryllium. The primary defense to such claims is to establish that there is no causal connection between the work injury and the work activities. Counsel, like SBRS, with specialized medical knowledge and training, are essential to achieving a successful result in defending an occupational disease claim. SBRS’ Workers’ Compensation Group works specifically with medical experts in defending claims involving causation of chronic and acute illnesses.
With respect to any workers’ compensation claim, SBRS’ employs individualized knowledge about the injury mechanisms in accordance with employer prevention strategies to provide the best defense.