Most people feel comfortable attending their job on a day to day basis and often do not consider the chances of being involved in a work related injury. This is likely because of the safety measures many companies employ and the comfort level employees have at their workplace. Occasionally, employees can be injured on the job regardless of the businesses effort to make the workplace safe.
If you are injured in an accident at work, you have the right to ensure that you are legally compensated based on the work-related injury. Every state has a different system in place which is why it is important to consider speaking to an attorney to learn about the different options or benefits you could receive.
What is Considered an on the Job injury?
An on-the-job injury is an accident or illness you experience while working during your employment under your proprietor. These illnesses or injuries can include: physical injuries, occupational illnesses, repetitive stress injuries, and even psychological injuries.
The most common workplace injury is a physical accident that results from personal work, other people's actions, or general workplace accidents. A workplace injury should not be taken lightly and can be quite significant when it comes to your ability to work and your quality of life.
You Have RightsStep 1: Report Your Injury
After an injury at work you have certain rights that should be considered before moving forward. The first thing you should do to protect your rights is report your injury to your work employer. When doing so, look into how long your state gives you to report your injury. Some offer only 24 hours for reporting while others offer as long as 30 days. Any accident that takes place at the workplace should be reported because your report could help motivate your employer to implement new safety measures that are necessary to ensure your coworkers' continued safety.Step 2: Consult a Doctor
After suffering a work-related injury you have the right to obtain medical care from a doctor. You also have the right to get medical treatment with your own doctor, but in some cases, employers may have a physician that specifically handles work related illnesses or injury.
If your doctor clears you for work you also have the right to return to work without fear of punishment or termination resulting from your illness or injury, and you are also entitled to short/long term disability compensation if you are unable to return to work.Step 3: File a Claim
Because of workers’ compensation laws, you have the right to file a claim for an illness or injury that happened on the job. You also have the right to file for all other claims that are available to you regardless of whether you are eligible for a workers’ compensation claim.
If you believe poor safety controls or dangerous conditions were the cause behind your injury, you have the right to move your case outside the workers’ compensation system and into a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers Comp Insurance vs Personal Injury Lawsuit
Workers’ compensation is a legally mandated system that serves as a form of insurance to provide wages or medical benefits to employees who have experienced an injury or illness. To gain these benefits, the employer gives up the right to sue for negligence in civil court when taking workers’ compensation.
A personal injury case is a legal dispute that comes from an employee that experiences harm from an accident or injury that someone else might be legally responsible for. This means that you can sue an entity or person whose negligence was the direct cause of your injury in court. In a personal injury claim, you are entitled to recover all the damages you lost as well as benefits for pain and suffering.
The main difference between the two is in a workers’ compensation case, the injured employee does not have to prove fault on part of the employer to gain compensation. With a personal injury case, however, proven fault is required. You cannot file a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim for the same injury unless someone other than a co-worker or a defective product caused your work injury.
Common Work Injury MistakesNot reporting as soon as possible
One of the biggest mistakes an employer can make when injured at the workplace is not notifying their employer about the accident. Even if you are not physically injured, you are required by law to notify your employer of any incident in a timely manner. Because some employees do not immediately see any symptoms or feel harmed at the time of the accident, they often fail to report it only to have an injury become apparent days later.Not reporting the full injury
The easiest way to receive the maximum amount of benefits for your work-related accident is to disclose all of your injuries at once. Not seeking treatment for all of your injuries makes it very difficult to receive fair compensation. If you wanted to report an injury weeks later the insurance company could dispute your claims or accuse you of fraud.Being the only one without Representation
It is incredibly important to work with a lawyer on a work-related injury case. Lawyers provide knowledge and assistance on the legal proceedings and help ensure you are adequately compensated for your injuries. Not having a lawyer could put your case at a huge disadvantage. It is likely that your employer or insurance company will have a lawyer to defend their side of the case, so it is important that you have someone with the same knowledge and experience who can advocate for your injuries.
When suffering from a work-related injury, knowing your next steps and options can have a big impact on your ability to receive the correct form of compensation or benefits. At Barfoot & Schoettker, we will actively work to understand your needs, show compassion, and be aggressive in the courtroom. Our smaller firm size provides us the opportunity to truly focus on your case and provide you with a personal service. Let our attorneys help navigate you through the process of your work-related injury today.