In today’s day and age, the thought of filing for anything the “old-fashioned” way through paper seems antiquated, but unfortunately, while society has gone widely digital, the court system has been slow to catch up. Can an injured employee file for workers’ compensation via an online system? We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say: What Is Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation insurance is available to employees who get injured while on-the-job. Most states require that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance through either a private carrier or pay into a state workers’ compensation fund. This money will give the injured employee benefits to pay for medical expenses and loss wages if he or she sustains an injury at work. The key to workers’ compensation is the employee waives the right to file a personal injury law suit against the employer in return for receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Federal Employees If the injured employee is a federal employee, he or she will be covered under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), which covers injuries sustained by federal employees while on-the-job. Forms can be completed and submitted via the ECOMP system, although communication between the FECA employees and the injured employee cannot be done over electronic communication. The forms, however, can still be submitted via their online secure system. State Employees or State Claims For employees not covered under FECA, these individuals must consult their state’s workers’ compensation laws as each state has its own set of rules and guidelines. Most states require that the first step be the employee notify the employer of the injury as soon as possible. Once notification has been given, it is recommended that the employee then call the local workers’ compensation office to proceed. In many situations, the employer will have the claim forms on hand for the employee to complete and submit. Once the employee completes the forms, it is up to the employer to submit the paperwork to the insurance carrier. Some states also require the employee to file a separate claim with the state workers’ compensation agency. Depending on the state, most allow for this to be done electronically. If the employee is not required to submit a separate claim, it can be hard to ensure that the employer submits the claim quickly, although they are obligated to do so. If the insurance carrier has the capability of receiving this information electronically, this can be filed online as well. If the employer does not dispute the claim, the insurance company will notify the employee on how to submit medical bills for reimbursement or payment. However, the process does not always go as easily as this. In most situations, the injured employee should expect some type of denial or request for more information. If a denial is given, the employee has the option of pursuing an appeal of the denial via an administrative hearing. If the employee is not successful via this avenue, the employee then has the chance to appeal via the state court system. Electronic Submission Via Court System Just as it depends on the state or the insurance carrier on whether claim forms can be submitted initially online, it also depends on the state system as to whether a legal claim can be submitted online. Many states are quickly coming up with the times in creating online e-filing portals, but many states still require an initial complaint to be filed in person at the courthouse since the other party then has to be formally “served” with notice and the legal complaint or petition. It would be wise for the injured employee to consult with an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation law before proceeding. For one, most states have strict deadlines for when things can be filed. If a deadline is missed, this mistake could cost the injured employee the right to seek a claim. If the legal claim is filed improperly this could also delay the process or could completely prevent the employee from seeking legal relief. An attorney can assist in making sure things are done properly from the start. Contact an Attorney Today If you are in the process of pursuing workers’ compensation and have questions about how to proceed, a workers’ compensation attorney can help review your case and discuss your options. An attorney can listen to the facts of the case and can best advise you on how to proceed. Contact an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation law to schedule a consultation today. Additional Resources Will an Attorney Help Me Settle My Claim Faster? Time to File a Workers' Comp Claim?