According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a total of 4,098 cases of fatal work injuries among salaried employees in 2016. This was a 9.25 percent increase from the previous year, 2015, which had a total of 3,751 fatal injuries.
Every year, workplace injuries occur in different industries in the US. This experience can be undeniably painful, and the law grants you the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and loses. But this is a process that many employees don’t understand well.
As such, this post is going to guide you on what to do when you’re injured at work.
Read on to learn more.
1. Get Medical Attention if Necessary
If it’s a fatal injury, you’ll need to be rushed to the nearest hospital. In most cases, you can receive first aid from your company’s health and safety officials. If it’s not an emergency, ensure you seek treatment from a practitioner who is authorized by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
Federal employees are allowed under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) to choose a doctor that will be there treating doctor. Some states also require employees to make a written request to see their own doctor before they’re injured at work.
However, in most cases, injured employees are usually treated by doctors who are chosen and paid by their employees. In this case, you can see the company doctor for a maximum of 30 days, and then select your own physician after that. It’s important to understand your company’s policy on using your own doctor.
2. Report the Case to Your Manager
Even if your manager or supervisor was at the scene during the incident, it’s still important to file a formal report with them. Plus, ensure the report is presented in writing and keep a copy for reference purposes.
Some states require you to report the case in writing to track the timeline of events. Keep in mind that each state has the statute of limitations, which is basically the amount of time you have before your deadline for filing. This is usually one to three years depending on your state’s laws. In Texas, you have two years to file your claim.
Your manager must issue you a company accident report to confirm the filing of the incident. Reporting the injuries in a timely manner will help to protect your legal rights, especially when you’re eligible for compensation benefits from your employer.
3. Understand Your Rights
Before rushing to file a workers’ comp claim, it helps to understand your legal rights when injured at work. For example, you have the right to file a claim in workers compensation court or the state industrial court. In most cases, this is necessary for complicated instances in which your employer denies liability or offers a lower compensation.
You have the right to return to your job if your physician allows you to resume working after treatment. In some cases, the injury can lead to severe illness or even a permanent disability that makes working impossible. When this occurs, you have a right to disability compensation.
You can also appeal your employer’s decisions if you’re not contented with any of their decisions. Most importantly, you have the right to seek legal representation and support from a qualified workers’ comp lawyer.
When a third-party caused your work injury, you can file a lawsuit against that person. Employees can also submit a toxic tort claim against a manufacturer for being exposed to toxic substances that result in conditions, such as cancer and lung disease.
4. File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
When injured at work, filing a claim is usually the critical step in pursuing compensation. Keep in mind that this is not a lawsuit against your employer, but rather a request for employee benefits.
You’ll receive a claim form from your employer, and you must complete it in order to receive your benefits. When filing the claim, ensure all the details you enter are accurate. Fill in the “Employee” section, and check to ensure all the relevant dates are correct. Don’t forget to sign the form and get a copy of the claim form.
After filing the form, you can return it to your employer, and they will complete the “Employer” section of the claim form. Also, make sure you have a copy of the updated form after your employer fills their section.
In most cases, your employer’s insurance company has about 14 days to give you your claim’s status. You can call the insurance company if you don’t receive a status letter within 21 days after filing.
5. Get Legal Help
Most work injury cases are usually solved pre-trial. Employers and insurance companies are likely to speed up the process to settle your claim and close the case. When this happens, the law prevents you from pursuing additional compensation for future medical problems related to the injury.
As such, it’s advisable to work with a work injury lawyer to protect your rights and understand your injuries. This even important especially in cases in which the employer doesn’t have Workers Compensation coverage and those where employees are sacked because of the injuries.
A professional lawyer will use their expertise to address long-term medical care, future hospital bills, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses. It’s also the responsibility of your attorney to investigate the case to identify instances of employer negligence.
Injured At Work – The Takeaway
Work injuries can be very traumatizing to victims and their family members. Plus, they can deny victim a source of income.
This post offers a simple guide you can use to pursue compensation when you’re injured at work. It’s usually advisable to accept compensation only after a physician has confirmed you’re well. If your company is reluctant in settling the claim or gives you a low payment, it’s necessary to seek legal help.
Take the time to find a lawyer who has your interests in mind, and they’re willing to protect your rights. Without the right lawyer, you may not receive proper compensation.
If you have any question about workplace injuries, feel free to reach out to us anytime.