A Brief Overview of Workers’ Compensation in Wyoming

Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault insurance that covers you if get injured on the job. Most workers in Wyoming are covered by workers’ compensation. If you are employed in an “extra-hazardous” working environment, or a company that has chosen to provide Workers’ Compensation coverage––you are covered. If you have questions about whether your employer offers this coverage, ask your Human Resources personnel.

What is covered under workers’ compensation insurance in Wyoming?

If you are injured on the job in Wyoming, workers’ compensation will provide the following benefits to you and your dependents:

  • Medical Expenses for necessary medical care and treatment;
  • Temporary Total Disability Benefits if you are certified by a physician as unable to return to work;
  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits if your work-related injury permanently prevents you from being gainfully employed;
  • Permanent Partial Disability Benefits; and
  • Death Benefits/Burial Expenses.

When you are injured on the job, you are covered under workers’ compensation regardless of who is at fault, unless:

  • You intentionally injured yourself;
  • Were intoxicated when you were injured;
  • You were traveling to or from work; or
  • You incurred the injury while in flagrant disregard of your employer’s safety procedures.

Otherwise, if you are hit by a falling object, fall from a ladder, or slip and fall at while on the job, workers compensation should cover you.

In addition, if your injuries are caused by someone other than a coworker or your employers, you may have a civil claim against this person or entity. For example, if driving is part of your job duties and you are rear-ended by another motorist and suffer whiplash, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against this motorist in addition to your worker’s compensation claim. This is called a “third-party liability” claim. “Third-party-liability” recovery may impact your Workers’ Compensation benefit amounts.

It is not unheard of for a company or an employer to encourage employees not to report injuries to Workers’ Compensation. Each injury goes to what is called an employers “experience rating” which increases their premium rates. Just know that failing to report an injury properly is done at your own peril.

What do I need to do If I have been injured at work?

If you are injured at work, there are several things you need to do immediately. Failure to do any of these items can result in delayed benefits or an outright denial of your claim:

  • Notify your supervisor. Let them know immediately what happened and that you have been injured. If your company uses injury reports, make sure one is filled out by your supervisor, or do it yourself and turn it in the same day if possible.
  • Request immediate medical attention and ask your employer to send you to a doctor. If they don’t send you to a doctor, go on your own. It’s important that you seek medical attention immediately and that your injury is documented by a medical professional.
  • Some injuries are difficult to determine whether work caused them or not. If you notice hand, shoulder, back or other problems you need medical attention for, and your doctor tells you that work is causing or aggravating your condition, this is considered a work-related injury. Notify your employer as soon as you are aware of your condition.
  • In any situation you must notify your employer within 72 hours of sustaining the injury.
  • You must also submit a Report of Injury to Workers’ Compensation within 10 days.

Furthermore, if the doctor who treats you gives you any activity restrictions, you need to make your employer aware of this. If you are allowed to come back to work, make sure that you are only given work within those restrictions. If work within the restrictions is not available, you are entitled to temporary disability pay under workers compensation insurance.

Do I need a lawyer if I am injured on the job?

The simple answer to this question, strictly speaking, is no. If your injury was minor and you were only off for a short period of time and your employer does not dispute the claim, you probably do not need a workers compensation lawyer. However, if your injuries are serious in nature and will require you to be off work for a substantial length of time, or if you feel that you are not being treated fairly, you may need the help of an attorney.

In Wyoming, if the Division of Workers Compensation denies you a benefit, or denies a doctor bill that you believe is related to your injury, you have the opportunity to dispute their decision through a hearing process. You will be referred to the Wyoming State Bar who has a list of attorneys who can help you through that hearing, and you will need to select one you believe suits your needs. (SEE: How to Locate a Good Workers’ Compensation Attorney) Be sure to read the letters and correspondence from Workers’ Compensation carefully, and don’t miss any deadlines. Missing the deadlines can be further reason for denial of certain benefits.

The Wyoming Division of Workforce Services has put together some information for workers to help them understand the claims process. Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Handbook –

http://www.wyomingworkforce.org/_docs/wc/WC-Handbook.pdf

The form to report an injury can be obtained online at:

http://www.wyomingworkforce.org/_docs/wc/Wyoming-Report-of-Injury-form.pdf

Disclaimer:As of this date, 6/13/16, all information within this article is accurate and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Readers should not rely on this information as it is possible for laws to change.