If you were injured at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including medical treatment and wage loss benefits. To collect these benefits, you must first report your injury to your employer, seek medical treatment, file a series of forms, and meet other legal requirements.
Wyoming law requires most employers to have workers’ compensation coverage. However, unlike in many other states, employers in Wyoming must buy insurance company directly from the state. The Division of Workers’ Compensation oversees all Wyoming’s workers’ comp claims.
Workers’ compensation is always a no-fault system. You do not have to show that your employer intentionally or carelessly caused your injury. As long as your injury happened on the job or was caused by your work activities, you are eligible for benefits.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and the facts of your claim, your benefits may include:
You cannot receive compensation for your pain and suffering through workers' comp. And, workers’ comp is your exclusive remedy against your employer, meaning you typically cannot file a personal injury lawsuit in court. However, you may have a “third party” lawsuit if someone else’s carelessness caused your injuries (other than a coworker). To learn more, see our article on suing outside of workers’ comp.
To be eligible for workers’ comp in Wyoming, you must orally report the injury to your employer within 72 hours of discovering a work-related injury or illness. If you fail to meet this deadline, you may lose some or all of your benefits. (However, there are exceptions to the reporting rule, so you should report an injury even if 72 hours have passed.)
Once you report your injury, your employer should allow you to get necessary medical treatment. Under Wyoming law, you can choose your own treating doctor. Your doctor must file a report with the Division within 30 days. The doctor’s report will discuss your injury, diagnosis, prognosis, and the doctor’s recommended forms of treatment.
Notifying your employer does not automatically initiate a workers’ compensation claim in Wyoming. Instead, you must file a series of forms with the Division. First, you must complete a Report of Injury within ten days of discovering your injury. Your Report of Injury can be either mailed or submitted online. If you are unable to work for more than three days, you must also complete an Application for Temporary Total Disability Benefits.
Throughout this process, it is important to give accurate information about the cause of your injuries and the severity of your symptoms. The Division relies heavily on initial medical records and claim forms when they evaluate claims. Either downplaying or exaggerating your symptoms may result in a denial of benefits.
Once the Division receives your claim, a claims analyst typically will contact you and give you a nine-digit case number associated with your claim. The analyst will then investigate your claim and determine your eligibility for benefits. This investigation may involve:
In Wyoming, the Division must issue its initial determination within 15 days. However, the investigation can be extended up to 45 days if additional time and information are needed. If your claim is approved, you should start receiving benefits shortly. If your claim is denied, you will receive a written notice and an explanation of your right to appeal.
If you have concerns about how your claim is being handled, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for assistance. You can also check your claim status online.
If your claim is denied, you can appeal the Division’s decision. It may be in your best interest to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer at this point. Most workers’ comp appeals require extensive legal and medical expertise. It can be difficult for injured workers to develop and present their claims without assistance. To learn more, see our article on when you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer.