What should I do? I’m Not Sure if I Should Get Workers Comp, FMLA or What.

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We’re getting this one a lot lately.


Q:  I can’t work because I’m sick or hurt and my job sent me paperwork to apply for FMLA.  I’m not sure if I should get workers comp, FMLA or what. What should I do?


A:  A couple of things here are important.  Usually when people tell us they’ve applied for FMLA or their company is putting their benefits under FMLA, they mean they have applied for short term or long term disability.


So what is that?


Many companies have short term and long term disability plans – disability insurance policies usually governed by a federal law called ERISA that should provide benefits if you are disabled because of an injury or medical condition and you can’t work.   There are a few key things to keep in mind – first there are strict timelines to appeal if your claim is denied. Second, there are a lot of conditions and exclusions in these policies – you may be required to file for social security disability benefits, you may be excluded if you can get workers comp benefits instead, and certain medical conditions may be excluded.


Workers comp is a different system altogether for injuries at work (it has its own requirements under the law, but it’s much different than short or long-term disability If you're on long-term disability or think you might get on it, we can help you with that, too).


But the #1 key thing to remember is that your HR department at your job doesn’t know all the differences or what will be best for you – even though they like you and mean well.


So call us and let us walk you through it and get it straight – we handle all types of insurance and injury cases, so we understand how one type of case may affect the other.


Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer