The rights of injured workers to receive compensation for lost pay, medical bills and rehabilitation after an industrial injury are governed by workers' compensation and related laws. Each of the states has a workers' compensation system, and there are several federal laws that cover industrial injuries.
At this office all of our workers’ compensation clients re federal employees whose work injuries are governed by the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), 5 U.S.C. Sections 8101 et seq. If you are unsure of which law governs your situation, ask a knowledgeable attorney as your rights may vary greatly depending on which law applies. Workers' compensation laws typically cover:
- Accidental injuries at the workplace may entitle you to continuation of your regular pay and worker's compensation benefits (including medical care) while you are unable to work.
- Chronic exposures and repetitive injuries such as carpal-tunnel syndrome, noise exposure resulting in hearing loss, etc., may also entitle you to the same workers' compensation benefits.
- If you work for the federal government and were injured at work, our office can represent you or give you advice, wherever you live.
- If you work in maritime or other employment covered by federal law and you were injured at work, our office can refer you to other competent counsel.
- If you were injured at work but not in federal or maritime employment, we may not be able to accept your case.
The FECA covers federal civilian employees who work for U.S. government agencies, including the Postal Service. See our links to other sites for a list of these agencies. Also covered are certain volunteers, Peace Corps personnel, and state law enforcement offices injured while apprehending a federal criminal, and others.
There are several other federal laws that govern work-related injuries, including the Jones Act covering seaman who are injured in the course of their service to a vessel in navigation; this can include workers on movable oil platforms and work boats, as well as ocean-going ships; the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) covering longshoremen and others working in maritime employment; extensions of the LHWCA covering defense base employees (Nonappropriated Fund Instumentalities Act - NFIA; Defense Base Act), oil platforms (Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act - OCSLA), and war injuries to civilians (War Risk Hazards Act); the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA) covering mine workers; the Federal Inmate Compensation system covering inmates in federal prisons; the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) covering atomic industry workers; etc. Such injuries may also give rise to other federal benefits such as Social Security payments.
It is important to remember that a person injured at work may have both a workers' compensation claim and a "third party " personal injury claim against a negligent party (see non-work-related injuries).
Examples of cases we have handled:
- A federal worker was seriously injured driving home from work late at night. The FECA claim was denied because she wasn't at work when injured. We obtained benefits for the worker by proving she was required to use her car during the workday, making her trip home covered under workers' compensation.
- A retired federal worker came in still suffering from an old knee injury. Since he had worked on ships, we asked him about asbestos exposure and lung problems, for which he had never thought to file a claim. He received a six-figure FECA benefit for the lung injury, in addition to extra benefits for the knee.
- An injured seaman settled his claim for $10,000 plus lifetime medical care for his injuries. Several years later the employer refused to keep paying his medical bills. We sued the employer for fraud and, in spite of the earlier settlement, obtained an additional six-figure settlement.
Contact us for more information about how we can help you with your workers compensation related issue.