Who is eligible for Workers’ Comp benefits?
Any employee in New Hampshire who has been injured while on the job is entitled to Workers’ Comp benefits. On-the-job injuries include one-time injuries, repetitive-use injuries, and illnesses that have developed over time from exposure to toxic substances in the workplace.
An injury such as an accident on your way to work or while out during your lunch break would not be covered since you were not “on the job.”
Does somebody else have to be at fault to have a New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation claim?
No, Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system. If you were injured on the job, regardless of fault, you may be entitled to compensation as a result of your work injury.
What should I do if I’m injured at work?
If injured at work, act right away.
- Notify your employer
- Seek medical treatment
- Document any witnesses
How do I file a Workers’ Compensation claim?
Notify your employer and fill out the appropriate forms (your employer will have them). It is your employer’s job to file the claim with their insurance company and a First Report of Injury with the Department of Labor.
How long do I have to file a claim?
You have two years from the discovery of your injury/illness to report it to your employer and three years to file a claim with their Workers’ Comp insurance.
Can I be fired because of my injury?
Maybe. New Hampshire is an “at-will” employment state, so no advanced notice is required for firing, but the Workers’ Compensation laws require reinstatement in some circumstances. Seek an attorney’s advice to understand your specific situation.
Can I see my own doctor?
Yes, you may choose your own doctor as long as your employer’s carrier is not using a managed care program. If they are, then you must choose a doctor within their network.
What benefits am I typically entitled to after a work injury?
The four categories of Workers’ Compensation benefits in New Hampshire are wage benefits, medical coverage, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits.
- Lost wages, also known as indemnity benefits, total 60% of your average weekly wages if you are unable to work and 60% of the difference if you must work reduced hours or for reduced pay. A minimum of $307.50/wk and a maximum of $1,865.00/wk apply (as of 2021). Lost wage payments also apply if there is a lack of available work while recovering (diminished earning capacity) and to a one-time award if your injury results in a permanent disability (permanent impairment award).
- Medical benefits cover all medical care, prescriptions, medical devices, and mileage to and from medical appointments.
- Vocational rehabilitation services offer counseling and training if you need assistance returning to work.
- Death benefits are given to the dependents of the deceased worker, plus up to $10,000 for burial expenses
You may also receive additional benefits outside the Workers’ Compensation system. You may be able to bring a third-party claim if another party was responsible for your injuries. For example, if you are involved in an auto accident, you may be able to gain compensation from the other driver. Compensation would include pain and suffering which is not available through the New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation system.
Is Workers’ Compensation taxable?
No, Workers’ Compensation payments are not taxable, but always check with a tax professional for exceptions.
How soon does Workers’ Compensation start?
Lost wages will reimburse you starting on your fourth day of missed work, but will cover those first three days if your injury puts you out of work for more than 14 days or if you return to light duty (temporary alternative employment) within five days.
What type of light duty job can my employer offer me? Can they reduce my rate of pay?
Your employer must offer you “meaningful employment” that follows the guidelines set by your doctor. Your pay may be reduced, but you may be entitled to benefits to cover the difference in wages.
Do I need an attorney? How much does it cost to hire a Workers’ Compensation lawyer?
You have the right to represent yourself in a Workers’ Compensation claim, so while an attorney is not required, one is recommended to navigate the details of the Workers’ Comp system.
Workers’ Comp cases are typically done on the contingency fee basis. This means that your attorney is only paid based on a percentage of whatever they are able to get for you. In New Hampshire, attorneys are entitled to 20% of any permanent impairment award or lump sum settlement of your Workers’ Compensation claim.
What if my claim is denied?
If the insurance company denies your claim, you have 18 months to request a hearing at the Department of Labor to appeal. Both employers and employees have the right to appeal a decision. Your Worker’s Comp attorney will be able to help you with that appeal.
For more information, see our blog on How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in New Hampshire?, the NH Dept. of Labor Workers’ Comp factsheet, and the NH Dept. of Labor FAQ page.