Reasons Restaurant Workers Might Be Denied Workers’ Compensation
From 2014 to 2017, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a steady increase in annual fatalities among food service workers. On-the-job injuries and illnesses among restaurant employees occurred at a rate of three per 100 full-time workers in 2017 for an overall total of 138. As with workers in most other industries, these injured employees or their surviving family members qualified for workers’ compensation in most cases.
Timing Is Important to Successfully Filing a Claim
Many workers who have been hurt on the job get adequate benefits in a timely manner. However, it’s important to take a few steps to better ensure a successful claim. Reporting a workplace injury to your employer establishes that the problem happened at work. Your supervisor or person in authority should be informed as soon as possible. In New Jersey, the report does not have to be in writing. If you need immediate medical treatment, however, request it right away.
Top Reasons Workers’ Comp Claims Are Denied
Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims are accepted. A letter from the agency managing the claim will explain the reason for the denial. The most common reasons are:
- Missed deadline for reporting the injury
- Missed deadline for filing the insurance claim
- Employer disputed the claim
- Injury did not qualify for payment
- No medical treatment was needed
- Lack of evidence that injury happened at work
The advice and attention of a workers’ comp lawyer could resolve problems with your claim. With legal support, you may be more likely to win a workers’ comp denial appeal.
What Motivates Employers to Fight Workers’ Comp Claims?
Employers pay insurance premiums based on the hazards associated with their specific industries. Claims upon their workers’ compensation insurance policies will likely raise their premiums.
In some cases, owners or managers might discourage reporting injuries and applying for benefits. In addition to financial concerns about higher premiums, they might want to avoid safety inspections triggered by accidents.
Servers, hosts, bartenders, chefs, cooks, and dishwashers might also experience other problems when trying to report an injury or seek benefits. Common issues include:
- No clear way to inform management
- Lack of information about workers’ compensation
- Irregular work schedules
- Language barriers
- Workplace culture that promotes “sucking it up”
Many Hazards Surround Food Service Workers
Restaurant employees face many workplace hazards. When accidents occur, they often need to rely on workers’ compensation benefits to pay for medical care and lost wages. Common sources of injury include:
- Slips and falls on wet or greasy floors
- Burns or respiratory distress after exposure to cleaning chemicals
- Cuts and lacerations from using knives and slicing machines
- Serious burns from hot ovens, grills, boiling water, and hot oil
- Repetitive motion injuries from carrying trays, chopping food, and scrubbing pans
- Attacks by angry customers
Any of these hazards could leave you hurt and in need of food service workers’ comp.
Benefits Provided by Workers’ Comp
The medical treatment and recovery time away from work that you need will determine the amount of benefits. Because cases vary in severity, the insurance program in New Jersey is designed to accommodate different levels of need. You might only get medical benefits to cover treatment. If you miss work for a certain amount of time, you might qualify for temporary total benefits that would pay for medical care and replace some of your lost pay. Disabling injuries might meet requirements for either permanent partial benefits or permanent total benefits. In the event that a worker dies, a surviving beneficiary might receive a death benefit.
Discussing your case with a workers’ comp lawyer could clarify what types of coverage you should receive. Your case does not have to prove that anyone was at fault to qualify for workers’ compensation.
Get Legal Advice
Understanding your rights could help you access the benefits that you deserve after an accident at a food service workplace. Contact a lawyer the Voorhees Law Office at our practice in Somerville, NJ, at (908) 200-2297.