An employer that has more than three employees has certain obligations to its employees. Maintaining a workers’ compensation policy is one of those obligations. Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that protects the wages of injured employees. The policy is supposed to reimburse injured employees with part of their work wages. Workers’ compensation pays for medical diagnosis and treatment, as well. The benefit continues until the worker is able to return to his or her job. Fault has no bearing on a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, a workers’ compensation claim is payable whether a person is partially responsible for the accident or not.
What to Do if You Are Hurt on the Job
What should you do if you’re injured at work? The U.S. Department of Labor suggests the following:
- Keep track of everything. Report all incidents of pain, numbness, tingling, and aching to your employer.
- See a doctor right away at the first signs of back injury, strains, or sprains.
- Be clear with your employer about tasks you’re unable to do. Make sure your doctor provides clear instructions about restrictions.
- Find out your state’s laws and deadlines to make sure you file on time.
- Find out if a medical management plan is in place at your job.
- Find out how to care for your injury.
Know Your Rights After a Workplace Accident
An employee must notify his or her employer of an injury the moment that such an injury occurs. Next, the employee will obtain the necessary medical care. The person or the employer will then have to file a workers’ compensation claim. The insurance company will review the incident and the information that the medical doctor submits. If the insurance company approves the claim, then the employee’s benefits will start quickly. However, some insurance companies deny claims. Some employers report injuries at a slow pace. Either situation can cause an employee to not receive the monies that he or she deserves.
An employer cannot delay in providing an injured worker an appropriate claim form. Indeed, the laws on the books in all states generally obligate an employer to provide a workers’ compensation claim form no later than 24 hours following an injury. Following an injury, an employer must also permit an injured worker the ability to take appropriate leave from work consistent with the type of injuries sustained. An injured worker cannot be penalized through employment termination.
Provide Written Information About the Employee’s Rights
Typically, an employer provides an employee with written information about workers’ compensation at the time of hire. With that said, when an employee is injured, an employer is obliged to provide that individual with written information about his or her rights under the workers’ compensation laws of a state. This information usually is provided in the form of a pamphlet.
The written information provided to an injured employee must include specific information about how to file a claim for compensation and itemize the benefits available to an employee. It must also state that the employee has a right to medical treatment. On a related note, the employee must be informed that he or she also has the right to change treating physicians. A business, company, or firm will often refer the employee to a particular doctor in the first instance.
The written materials provided to the injured worker must specifically identify the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Some companies are self-insured. What this means is that the company pays work-related injury medical expenses on its own. In such a situation, the worker must be advised of that fact and provided the name of the contact person associated with the business that handles workers’ compensation claim adjustments.
Working with Your Employer in a Workers’ Comp Case
Understanding how to deal with your employer during a workers’ compensation case can lower your stress level, and ensure that your employer remains on your side. Some employers are fearful of workers’ compensation claims because they are concerned about the rise in premiums, or in some cases, they may have had a bad experience with another employee who overtly lied about a workers’ compensation case.
If, however, an employer refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the illness or injury, and attempts to convince you to withdraw your workers’ compensation claim, this action is illegal and should be reported to a workers’ compensation attorney. You should also report any type of retaliation your employer is or is threatening to take against you.
Always be cooperative with your employer concerning your injuries or illness by answering any and all questions concerning your workers compensation claim. By keeping your employer informed of the workers’ compensation process, you will enable them to assist in expediting your claim and receive your compensation in a timely manner.
What If My Employer Is at Fault for the Accident?
Personal injury is a situation in which an employee suffers an injury because of the employer’s negligence. An example of a personal injury work situation is an employee who cuts his finger on a slicer because the employer failed to perform maintenance tasks. An employee cannot file a personal injury case and a workers’ compensation case. He or she must decide which course of action is best. Personal injury cases can pay a significantly higher settlement than workers’ compensation cases can pay. However, the attorney must prove that the employer is at fault for the employee’s injury. A workers’ compensation lawyer can assist with a person who decides to go after that benefit.
Injured at Work? Turn to Bryan Caulfield for the Help You Need.
An injured worker best protects his or her rights and interests in the aftermath of a workplace injury by seeking appropriate legal assistance. Towards this end, an injured worker should schedule an initial consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Contact Attorney Bryan Caulfield today to get started on your case! Initial consultations are free and confidential.