Workers' Compensation Claims Involving Multiple States

Workers' Compensation Claims Involving Multiple States

Posted By Douglas F. Kaleita, P.C. || 16-Nov-2016

Most employees in the country work out of a single office, store, or premises. Some may be sent to various jobsites throughout a city, such as a subcontractor. And yet, there are a select few who actually travel in between states as part of their job duties. Many of these multistate workers are in the shipping and transportation industries, such as truck drivers and flight attendants, but there are actually many occupations that may require a person to travel across state lines for their work.

These occupations are unique in that they require frequent travel, and also in that they present unique legal questions when a traveling employee gets hurt on the job. The most important question in such cases is under which state’s law the injured worker’s claim will be handled. While all states have a workers’ compensation system, and there are many similarities between them, the laws differ from one state to another. Most importantly, they often differ dramatically with regard to the amount of benefits available to the injured worker.

When an employer has its principal office in one state, and the employee is injured in another, the employee can usually choose in which of the two states to bring the workers’ compensation claim. The employer usually knows this, and will usually handle the claim under the laws of the state that the employer believes are most favorable to the employer; in other words, the laws of the state that provide less benefits to the injured worker.

Many times, the employer will just start paying Workers’ Compensation benefits without telling the injured worker that he or she has a choice of states in which to bring the claim. However, if a worker is injured in another state, it creates a multijurisdictional case, and the injured worker should carefully consider in which state to bring the claim. Ideally, the worker should choose the state in which he or she will be entitled to receive more benefits.

Multiple Jurisdictions, Multiple Choices

There are pros and cons to having a multijurisdictional workers’ compensation claim. The most noticeable con is the added complexity to just about everything in the case. Whenever more than one state is concerned in any legal matter, there is going to be more paperwork, more hoops to jump through, and more room for error if handling the case is rushed or done poorly.

As discussed above, the benefit of a multijurisdictional workers’ compensation case is that the employee may choose in which state to file their claim. For example, if you are employed in Florida but get hurt in Georgia, you could choose either state’s laws for the handling of your claim; in this example, Georgia law will nearly always provide much greater benefits than Florida. This gives you the advantage of choice, as one state may have rules that are preferable to your unique situation, allowing you to pursue more compensation or pursue it with less resistance.

The trick to a successful multijurisdictional claim is really in the details, though. For the average employee, analyzing and weighing one, not to mention two or more, states’ workers’ comp laws is simply too difficult. In fact, some attorneys do not understand this, or don’t bother to discuss it with the injured worker. If you have found yourself in such a situation where you know you need to file a workers’ comp claim but don’t know how or in which state to file one, you can rely on Douglas F. Kaleita, P.C. for help. Our workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta, Georgia can help you understand and uphold your rights and options, backed by nearly three decades’ worth of experience.

Contact our firm today by calling 888.665.7699 and requesting a free case evaluation.