Q. What is the Workers' Compensation Coverage for Fire Fighters?
A: Please click here for information regarding coverage for fire fighters. (Document in Adobe PDF format)
Q: What are covered medical benefits?
A: Workers' compensation provides coverage for all reasonably necessary medical services and supplies related to an on-the-job injury. In appropriate cases, this may include not only coverage for doctors visits and hospital treatment, but also coverage for physical therapy, medication, chiropractic treatment and psychological counseling.
Q: Do I need a lawyer?
A: That depends upon the complexity of the claim. Discuss it with the Workers' Compensation Division if you are in doubt.
Q: What is temporary disability?
A: If you are unable to work at all during your recovery from a work-related injury, then you will be provided with weekly wage replacement compensation, called temporary, total disability compensation. In addition you will be provided with a small supplement for each of your dependent children. If your doctor releases you to part-time work or light duty work while you are recovering, then you may be entitled to temporary, partial disability compensation.
Q: What is permanent impairment compensation?
A: If you are left with a permanent impairment following your recovery, you may receive additional compensation (related to loss of function) once your temporary disability compensation ends. The law provides a schedule from which these benefits are calculated.
Q: Is there a list of physicians who perform permanent partial impairment evaluations?
A: Yes. Please click here for a list of physicians in the State of Vermont.
Q: Do I have a right to get my old job back?
A: If your employer has 10 or more employees, and if you recover from your injury within 2 years, you have a right to be reinstated in the next available, suitable job. This means that if your employer has hired someone to take your place, you cannot insist that the person be fired; however, the next available position that is appropriate, given both your job qualifications, and your physical capacity, must be first offered to you. You must keep your employer informed of your availability and willingness to return to work.
Q: What if I am unable to return to my pre-injury job as a result of my injury?
A: You should begin looking for work within the physical restrictions set by your treating physician. You may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation assistance to help you find suitable alternative employment. The goal of this assistance is to ensure that you return to work in a job that is both safe, given your physical capacities, and appropriate to your educational and employment background.
Q: How do I get Workers' Compensation?
A: You should notify your employer as soon as possible after you have been injured on the job. Your employer then has 72 hours to report it to the Workers' Compensation Division. At the same time, your employer's insurance adjuster is notified and has 21 days to investigate and to decide whether or not to accept your claim.
Q: What should I do if I am released to return to work?
A: If your doctor releases you to return to work, either full or part-time, you should contact your employer immediately to see if an appropriate position, suitable to your condition, is available for you. If it is, you are obligated to take it or risk losing your right to further compensation and/or vocational rehabilitation assistance. If there is no suitable job available, you may be entitled to continued compensation. If the return to work is part-time, you are entitled to temporary, partial disability compensation.
Q: What do I do if my employer has failed to file a claim?
A: Contact the Workers' Compensation Division at (802) 828-2286.
Q: What if my claim is denied?
A: If your employer's insurance adjuster notifies you that it has denied your claim or that it disputes your right to further compensation or medical benefits, you have a right to contest that decision before the Workers' Compensation Division.
Q: How does the Workers' Compensation Division deal with claims?
A: Specialists work closely with the insurance claims adjuster and claimant. They will see that the adjuster completes the necessary paperwork and insure that medical examinations are performed as required. These specialists may also serve as mediators, helping the parties resolve conflicts over case issues. Further, they act in a regulatory capacity and may issue interim orders when a carrier disagrees with the Division's interpretation of the statute.
Q: How many of the claims that the Workers' Compensation Division receives require hearings?
A: In fiscal year 1994, of the over 25,000 First Reports of Injury, about 9,300 involved some intervention by the Workers' Compensation Division. Of these, about 1,500 requested a hearing and about 100 of these required adjudication and a decision by the Commissioner. A party that is dissatisfied with a hearing decision has further recourse to the Superior and Supreme Courts.
Q: What if I have additional questions concerning workers' compensation?
A: Contact the Workers' Compensation Division at the Vermont Department of Labor. We will try to provide you with the information you need.
What is the penalty for making a false statement or representation or for
refusing or neglecting to comply with an order or rule or regulation?
A: A person who
willfully makes a false statement or representation for the purpose of
obtaining any benefit or payment may be assessed an administrative penalty of
not more than $5,000 and
shall forfeit all or a portion of any right to compensation. An employer who refuses to comply
with rules and regulations or orders of the department of labor, may be
assessed an administrative penalty of up to $5,000. An employer who makes
a false statement for the purpose of obtaining a lower workers' compensation
premium, or who refuses to comply with rules and regulations, may be assessed
an administrative penalty by the department of banking insurance securities and
health care administration (B.I.S.H.C.A.) of up to $20,0008 V.S.A. §3661(c)). (21 V.S.A. §§687, 688, 708, 8 V.S.A.