Important: We updated this article in February 2023 so all information below is both current and correct. If you were injured or got sick on the job in the Blue Hen State, here’s the information you need to get the Delaware workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to.
Am I Eligible for Delaware Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ comp is handled at the state level unless you’re a federal employee. Get the details on workers’ comp for federal employees.
According to the state Division of Industrial Affairs, employers with at least one employee must carry Delaware workers’ compensation coverage. Pro Tip: Farm workers and independent contractors are not covered.
How do I File a Delaware Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If your workplace injury or illness requires emergency or urgent care, seek treatment immediately. Pro Tip: Tell the doctor your injury or illness is work-related and keep your receipts and bills.
While every case is different, most Delawareans follow these steps to apply for benefits:
- Inform your employer about your workplace injury or illness in writing and request medical care. You can choose which doctor to see. Pro Tip: You must notify within 90 days of the accident or onset. You have two years to file your workers’ compensation claim.
- Make sure your employer files a First Report of Occupational Injury or Disease form within 10 days. State law requires them to file this form with their insurer and the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC). Otherwise, they will receive a $100-$250 fine.
- Wait for a decision. If your claim’s approved, your employer should pay all medical expenses starting on the accident date. If you miss more than three days at work, you qualify for lost wage benefits, too. See the compensation rate chart here. Pro Tip: Medical benefits begin on day one; lost wages don’t start until day four.
- Take action if your claim’s denied. File a petition asking the OWC to review your claim. You then have 45 days to appeal a second time if the OWC denies your claim. If this happens, you’ll need to request a hearing before the Delaware Industrial Accident Board.
For more information on the Delaware workers’ comp process, visit the OWC website.
What Else Should I Know About Delaware Workers’ Compensation?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzes workers’ comp data on most U.S. states and territories. The total number of recordable cases in the Blue Hen State declined from a high of 9,800 in 2019 to 9,300 in 2021. That was driven in part by a drop in the number of cases reported in the service-providing industry from 6,200 in 2018 to 5,800 in 2021. The number of employees who either missed work, transferred or received restrictions fell from 5,200 in 2018 to 5,000 in 2021.
Do I Qualify for Legal Assistance?
When you’re dealing with a work-related illness or injury, navigating the Delaware workers’ compensation system can make the pain of a workplace illness or injury even worse. You may want to hire an experienced attorney in order to help you get maximum benefits faster. Your lawyer can negotiate with insurers, gather medical evidence to support your claim, and represent you at hearings.
Pro Tip: Workers’ comp attorneys don’t charge any fees unless you win benefits. You pay a reasonable, one-time fee only if your case is successful.
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Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.