Being injured while working is never an easy situation. On one hand, you have your job which you may love, but on the other hand, you are injured and may be out of work for an extended period. What do you do? You should know one important thing: if you’re hurt at work, you’ll almost certainly be eligible for workers’ compensation.
You have legal rights and should never be denied this. However, if you don’t know your rights after an on-the-job injury, here’s some tips of how you should proceed following such an incident.
Make a formal accident report
Depending on the state you work, there are tight deadlines you have in reporting a work-related accident to be protected by workers’ compensation. As a consequence, you should report the accident in a timely manner, even if you are fully aware of your injury. If not, you may lose out on your window to file a claim.
Even if you are not harmed in the accident, your report may prompt new safety measures by your job to ensure that an injury does not occur to you or others moving forward. Furthermore, reporting the accident right away protects you if you begin to notice an injury months after it actually took place.
Workers’ Compensation Laws Generally Prevent Lawsuits
Except for Texas, every state requires most companies to have workers’ compensation insurance. Employees normally cannot sue their companies for job injuries, according to these laws. On the other hand, the employee does not have to show that the harm was the employer’s fault. A worker is entitled to benefits even if they are responsible for the injury themselves.
There are always exceptions. In circumstances involving asbestos exposure, a worker can move forward with a lawsuit. You may be eligible to sue a company or third party if you were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma or other health problems.
Injuries caused by drugs or alcohol are not covered.
Workers’ compensation rules may not cover an employee’s injuries in specific circumstances. For instance, if an employee is inebriated or under the influence of illicit substances at the time of the occurrence, the injuries will not be covered under workers’ comp. As a result, several companies have policies mandating workers to submit to drug testing.
For injuries that take place during a person’s travel, or as a result of a fight, these are also normally not covered.
Seek medical attention.
Following a workplace injury, you should consult a doctor as soon as you can. Go to the emergency room if the injury is serious and requires immediate attention. Whether you’re hurt badly or not, your job may require that you see a specific doctor to evaluate your injury. You should also ask if you can see one of your choices.
If your job has you see a doctor that you are dissatisfied with, you may consider visiting a different doctor. As laid out by workers’ compensation, you can possibly seek the opinion of a second doctor. Even if workers’ compensation would not cover the cost of a new doctor, it may be in your best interest to pay for it yourself. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may lose more if you don’t seek out a separate doctor to evaluate you. Your doctor’s appointment may be paid by your health insurance if you have it.
As soon as possible, report any injuries.
It is your employer’s responsibility to submit a workers’ compensation claim for you with their insurance. They won’t know until you tell them you’re hurt.
If you discover your injury at a later time, after reporting an incident, it’s important that you notify your job as soon as possible. Don’t leave it all up to your work either. You should make sure to check to see whether a workers’ compensation claim has been submitted. You should also receive a copy for yourself.
Consult an attorney who knows workers’ comp laws.
It’s a good idea to contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims before making a claim. You should also consider the location of the business as well. Do not go to an out-of-town attorney just because someone knows them. Seek out work injury lawyers in New York City, or work injury lawyers in Trenton New Jersey. Being knowledgeable about state laws will help in any legal case. Usually, a consultation is free of charge and may assist you in determining what benefits you may be eligible for.