Workplace injuries can be devastating, both physically and financially. If you’ve been injured at work, then whether it was your fault or someone else’s, you need to know your rights and what steps to take to ensure you receive the proper medical care and compensation you deserve.
Notify Your Employer of the Injury Promptly
The first step is to notify your employer of the injury within 20 days of the accident since that’s the amount of time employees have to do so. This will help ensure that your workers’ compensation claim is processed promptly and that you receive the benefits you are entitled to. Failure to report the injury within this timeframe could jeopardize your claim.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Next, you need to file a workers’ compensation claim. This formally notifies your employer, the court, and their insurance company about the incident. Additionally, filing a claim provides you with automatic protections, such as the right to pursue medical treatment for your injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits are typically provided regardless of who is at fault for the injury. This means that even if you were responsible for the accident, you might still be eligible for assistance with medical expenses and any lost wages you may have experienced due to the injury.
Get a Lawyer’s Help for Your Claim
A lawyer can help you throughout the workers’ compensation process. Your lawyer is primarily there to advise you, as it’s very unlikely you’ll go to trial. The legal system for civil cases has changed dramatically over the years. In 1962, 11.5% of federal cases went to trial, whereas today, only about 1% of civil cases reach the federal courts. Additionally, a lawyer can help you if your employer disputes your workers’ compensation claim. They will work hard to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Understand and Navigate the Legal System
According to recent statistics, only 4% of personal injury cases ever see trial, with most settled out of court. This means most cases are settled through negotiations and mediation rather than the lengthy and expensive trial process. Often, the employer’s insurance company will attempt to settle the case with a lump sum payment. Although this might seem appealing, you should consider the offer carefully and consult your lawyer before accepting.
If you accept the settlement, then you might be giving up your right to pursue further compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits may not cover all of your expenses, especially if the injury is severe or long-term, and you need to protect yourself if that happens to you. If someone else is responsible for your workplace injury, then you may have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against them. This allows you to seek compensation for damages that are not recoverable through workers’ compensation, such as pain and suffering.
Protect Yourself Against Coercion and Harassment
Be aware of your rights against coercion and harassment involving workers’ compensation. Your employer cannot encourage you to offer incentives in exchange for not filing a workers’ compensation claim or asking you to pay for treatment yourself. If you experience any form of harassment or intimidation related to your injury, you can take legal action and seek compensation for damages.
After injuring yourself on the job, it’s crucial that you know your rights and take steps to protect them. Reporting the injury to your employer, filing a workers’ compensation claim, and seeking legal representation are all important steps in this process. By working with a knowledgeable lawyer and understanding your rights, you can ensure that you receive the compensation and medical care you need to properly recover from your injuries.