If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault.
Here are some of the benefits potentially available to you:
- Medical care
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
If you have been injured at work, report the injury to your supervisor immediately. Fill out a Form 1 – “Employer First Report of Injury” form. Then fill out a Form 5 – “Employee’s Notice of Injury and Claim for Compensation”. Both of these forms can be found at the Vermont Department of Labor website.
Under Vermont state workers’ compensation law, you are entitled to reasonable medical care needed to cure or relieve the effects of your work-related injury. Medical care can include doctors, nurses, hospitals, medicine, medical equipment and any necessary and reasonable medical treatment ordered by a doctor. Under Vermont workers’ compensation law, the term “doctor” includes physicians and surgeons, psychologists, optometrists, dentists, podiatrists, acupuncturists and chiropractic practitioners licensed by Vermont state law.
Vermont workers’ compensation also includes reimbursement for traveling to and from your medical treatment if the travel exceeds the distance of your commute to work.
Medical Mileage Reimbursements
Vermont workers that have been injured on the job are entitled to reimbursement for any transportation related to their medical treatment. This means that under workers’ compensation law, you are entitled to reimbursement for transportation to and from your treating physician(s), physical therapy, and the pharmacy.
Medical mileage reimbursement rates change every year. The specific reimbursement rate that you are entitled to corresponds to the fiscal year or period during which you logged your medical mileage. For instance, this means that if your medical travel occurred in 2008, you would be reimbursed at the medical mileage rate for that period in 2008. Current and past medical mileage reimbursement rates can be found on the IRS website.
The current medical mileage reimbursement rate for injured workers is: 55.5 cents per mile
Here are past medical mileage reimbursement rates dating back to July 1st, 2006:
July 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006 44.5 cents/mile
January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007 48.5 cents/mile
January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008 50.5 cents/mile
July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008 58.5 cents/mile
January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009 55 cents/mile
January 1 2010 to December 31, 2010 50 cents/mile
January 1, 2011 to June 31, 2011 51 cents/mile
July 1, 2011 to Present 55.5 cents/mile
Choosing Your Doctor
Under Vermont state workers’ compensation law, you have the right to choose your own doctor(s) after being injured at work. After a work-related injury, your employer will suggest or assign a doctor to you. It is important to understand that you have the right to change health care providers, regardless of the reasons for the change, at any time during your treatment after the first appointment. In order to change your doctor, you must fill out a Form 8 – “Notice of Intent to Change Health Care Provider”. This form can be found on the Vermont Department of Labor website.
After you are injured at work, your employer may suggest or assign you a doctor that has been approved by their insurer. Sometimes, they might even hand you a list of pre-approved doctors to choose from. In many cases, these doctors are hired by your employer’s insurers. This can cause a conflict of interest. Often times, the doctor that your employer suggests will have the insurance company’s bottom line, not your personal well being, on the forefront of their minds. This is why it is important to remember that you have the right to use a doctor of your choice for any reason. Do not hesitate to use a doctor that you prefer and are comfortable with.