Eau Claire Workers' Compensation Lawyer
As a major regional center for healthcare, retail, education, manufacturing, and technology, Eau Claire is home to a diverse array of industries. This also means, however, that the average Eau Claire employee has a multitude of opportunities to suffer an on-the-job injury.
A workers' compensation policy covers around 97 percent of Wisconsin's more than three million workers. If you suffered a workplace injury or illness in Eau Claire, you may have a lot of questions about how to obtain workers’ compensation, what benefits the program provides, and what to do if workers’ comp denies your claim. Be sure to contact our skilled Eau Claire Workers' Compensation attorneys for help.
Read on for more information about Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation program, how Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you obtain benefits or fight a wrongful denial of your valid claim, and answers to some of the questions our Eau Claire clients ask us most often about the subject.
About Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
The legal team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers has over 100 years of combined legal practice. Our award-winning attorneys handle many legal issues, including personal injury, workplace injury, and disability cases. Our success has resulted in many national news sites, including Forbes, Today, and The Huffington Post, featuring our work, and we have over 500 5-star reviews from former clients. When you retain us to handle your workers’ compensation claim, you can rest assured knowing that we have experience helping individuals like you pursue maximum compensation.
Over our 14 years, Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers has expanded to 12 offices located throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, including an office in Eau Claire. Our growth has expanded our footprint and legal network, but we still provide the compassionate and accessible legal representation that many associate with a small firm. We combine the resources of a large firm with personalized service and a results-driven legal strategy, so you can rest assured knowing that we will pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. Let us put our experience to work on your case; contact us today for a free consultation, during which you can ask questions and learn more about your legal options.
Our Past Success Stories
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we have represented over 3,000 individuals and recovered over $38 million in total compensation on their behalf. We take cases on contingency, which means that we only collect attorney fees if we successfully recover compensation for our client. With our interests aligned, you can feel confident that we will pursue maximum compensation in your case. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, we can point to our past results as examples of our success.
Some of our recent results include:
- $100,000 for a client who sustained an on-the-job hip injury
- $80,000 for a client who sustained an on-the-job back injury
- $70,000 for a client who sustained an on-the-job knee injury
- $65,000 for a client who sustained an on-the-job hand injury
- $50,000 for a client who sustained an on-the-job concussion/head injury
- $50,000 for a client who sustained an on-the-job back injury
- $40,000 for a client who sustained an on-the-job shoulder injury
We Can Take on the Top Employers in Eau Claire
Historically, Eau Claire’s economy depended on lumbering and manufacturing. However, over the last century, the city’s economy has diversified to include large education, healthcare, and retail sectors. Regardless of your profession, if you sustain an injury while at work, you likely qualify to pursue compensation through the state’s workers’ compensation program.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we have experience handling worker’s compensation claims in Eau Claire and representing individuals who have had their claims denied or reduced. We’ve earned a reputation throughout the community for zealous advocacy, and we’ve litigated cases against some of Eau Claire’s most powerful employers.
The city’s top employers include:
- Menard Inc.
- Mayo Clinic Health System
- Eau Claire Area School District
- University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
- Sacred Heart Hospital
- United Healthcare Services
- Hutchinson Technology
- Chippewa Valley Technical College
- City of Eau Claire
- Nestle Inc.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries while working for any employer in Eau Claire, contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free consultation and to determine your legal options.
About Workers' Compensation in Eau Claire
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that most employers in the state must purchase on behalf of their employees. This policy provides wage loss and medical treatment for injuries or illnesses occurring at the workplace, regardless of who was at fault for the injury or illness.
This means the worker can access the compensation without proving liability as he or she must in a personal injury claim. The coverage provided by the workers’ compensation policy is available from the first day on the job and throughout the worker’s employment and does not require the worker to pay a deductible to access the benefits.
Workers’ compensation is required for all businesses with three or more workers, with these exceptions:
- Federal employees, including postal workers, Veterans Administration staff, members of the U.S. military, and more. These workers are generally covered by a federal compensation program.
- Interstate rail workers, dock workers, longshoremen, and seamen, who are also covered by a different type of compensation policy.
- Domestic servants and some farmworkers.
- Individuals whose employment is not in the same business, trade, profession, or occupation as the employer.
- Volunteers for non-profit organizations receiving less than $10 a week in monetary payment or other forms of compensation.
- Employees of Native American tribal enterprises, including casinos.
Workplace injuries include:
- Injuries sustained while the employee is engaging in work-related activities that fall within the scope of his or her employment.
- Transportation accidents occurring at the workplace, such as a car accident in the office parking lot as the employee is arriving for work.
- Injuries that occur on the company property while the employee is attending to personal needs, such as taking a smoke break, using the lavatory, or eating in the office break room. Injuries occurring during an employee’s break time while he or she is not on company property—such as while running errands during a lunch break—are not covered by workers’ comp.
- Injuries that occur while the employee is off of company property but is still performing work-related tasks under the direction or control of his or her employer.
The Benefits Available to Injured Workers in Eau Claire
Benefits are available for workers who suffer workplace injuries or illnesses such as:
- Physical harm or injury, including bruises, lacerations, bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, sprains and strains, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burns, or limb amputations.
- Mental harm, including emotional distress. Mental harm is most often accompanied by physical injury in workers’ compensation claims.
- Accidental injury, including sudden physical injuries or emotional trauma, that occurred because of workplace activity.
- Repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel.
- Occupational diseases resulting from prolonged exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace.
Eau Claire workers who cannot work due to an occupational injury or illness may receive weekly wage-loss benefits. The wage-loss benefits you may receive depend on the severity of your injury and how long it impairs your ability to perform job-related tasks.
The categories used for wage-loss benefits in Wisconsin workers’ compensation claims include:
- Temporary total disability: All workers’ compensation claims begin as temporary total disability claims until there has been an opportunity for a treating position to determine the likelihood of the injury permanently impacting the individual’s ability to work. Temporary total disability means that the person cannot work at all, but the condition may improve. There are no wage-loss benefits if your injury results in three or fewer missed days from work. However, injuries resulting in wage loss for more than seven days will result in compensation for all of the days in which you missed work. This injury category provides two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum amount specified by law. Wage-loss payments will continue until either the employee can physically perform the tasks required for his or her position, the employer can find different job tasks that the employee can perform, or the employee has made maximum medical improvement and is still disabled.
- Temporary partial disability: When an employee’s injury allows for limited hours, light duty, or a lesser-paying position that features activities that are within the individual’s ability, he or she can be eligible for temporary partial disability payments. Benefits are determined by the difference between the average wage he or she earned before the injury and the wage at the new position.
- Permanent partial disability: When the person is, to some degree of medical certainty, permanently disabled and yet still perform lighter or lesser-paying job tasks for his or her employer, he or she can claim permanent partial disability benefits. The determination of the amount of compensation and the duration of these weekly wage loss benefits is calculated according to a schedule of losses. This schedule dictates a certain number of weeks of benefits for different injury categories.
- Permanent total disability: Permanent total disability payments are available for workers who were left totally disabled by a workplace injury and, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the injury is permanent. This will result in lifetime weekly wage loss payments equaling two-thirds of the individual’s average weekly wage before the injury occurred.
Eau Claire employees who have suffered a workplace injury or illness are eligible for 100 percent coverage of all reasonable injury-related medical expenses without paying a deductible or co-pay. These expenses include the cost of emergency treatment and transport to the hospital by ambulance or air; diagnostic and laboratory testing; hospitalization; prescription medication; surgeon and physician services, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and mental health services related to emotional distress caused by the injury.
The Process of Obtaining Workers’ Comp Benefits in Eau Claire
If you were injured in a workplace accident or were diagnosed with an illness caused by workplace exposure to toxins, seek treatment for your condition immediately. You have 30 days to report your injury or illness to your employer, but you are encouraged to report it as soon as possible to begin the process of obtaining benefits.
Once your employer receives a report of your injury, he or she must notify the insurance carrier providing the workers’ compensation policy. The insurance provider will review your claim and decide the benefits it will award you within 14 days. Your claim will remain open for six years from the date of your injury, or longer in some cases. You are encouraged to retain copies of all documents pertaining to the benefits and medical treatments you have received for up to 12 years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Obtaining Eau Claire Workers' Compensation
Here are the answers to some general workers’ compensation questions we often encounter when assisting the working Eau Claire community. If you have questions about your specific case, our Eau Claire workers’ compensation lawyer will be happy to provide answers.
Can I choose my own doctor when obtaining treatment for my Eau Claire workplace injury?
Yes. Employers in Wisconsin are required to provide injured workers with the right to choose their own doctor. In an emergency where the worker cannot select a doctor, the employer can choose the treating physician for the emergency only. For future medical treatments, the worker still has the right to choose their own physician.
My spouse died in an Eau Claire workplace accident. Is that covered by workers’ comp?
Yes. Individuals who were dependent on a deceased worker’s wages can obtain death benefits through workers’ compensation.
The family members eligible to receive these benefits include:
- The deceased worker’s spouse or domestic partner
- Surviving children under the age of 18 or those who cannot earn wages for themselves due to mental incapacitation, regardless of age.
The maximum death benefit allowed for Wisconsin surviving family members through workers’ compensation is four times the worker’s annual wages before the fatal workplace injury or illness occurred, up to a maximum amount as set by law and subject to annual changes. Additionally, workers’ compensation can provide up to $10,000 for the cost of the funeral and burial or cremation.
I suffered a workplace injury in Eau Claire and my employer does not have workers’ compensation. What should I do?
In many states, if the employer was required to carry a workers’ compensation policy and failed to do so, the only other recourse for obtaining the compensation needed for medical treatment and wage loss was through a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. However, Wisconsin’s Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) covers uninsured workers. We can give you the details about accessing compensation through UEF and can assist with that process.
Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Eau Claire?
It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, employers who retaliate in this manner often will come up with another reason for the termination. If you suspect that you were terminated due to filing a workers’ comp claim or have endured any other type of employer retaliation related to your claim, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for guidance.
My doctor feels like I can return to work, but I don’t feel ready. What should I do?
For many people, the release by the doctor to return to work is a welcome occasion. However, if you don’t feel like you have adequately healed enough to perform the tasks related to your job, it can worry you.
Your doctor can have more confidence in your ability to return to work than you do, because:
- The doctor feels that the recuperative benefits of being active and out of the home outweigh the risk of reinjury from returning to work too soon.
- The doctor does not have a clear understanding of the types of tasks you must perform for your job.
Discuss your concerns with your doctor to clear up any miscommunication. However, if your doctor persists with the release and you still feel like you are not recovered enough to resume regular work duty, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your options.
I feel overwhelmed by the workers’ compensation process. What should I do?
The process of obtaining wage loss and medical benefits for a work-related injury is overwhelming. If you have questions about the process or need assistance, an experienced Eau Claire workers’ compensation attorney from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help.
Some of the specific assistance we can provide includes:
- Information and guidance through the workers’ compensation appeals process.
- Services designed to help the dependents of deceased workers to obtain death benefits that are available through Wisconsin’s workers’ compensation program.
- Assistance with addressing employer situations, such as failure to provide a workers’ compensation policy for employees or suspected retaliation against an injured worker who has reported an injury.
- Aid to injured workers who have had their claim rejected or have experienced an unexplained delay in payments.
Let’s explore if we can help you obtain your workers’ compensation benefits. For a free case review with our Eau Claire workers’ compensation lawyers, contact us online or call (715) 835-5959.