There are so many ways in which you risk injury within your daily employment. Regardless of whether you work in an office, workshop, supermarket, or elsewhere, there is a chance that you could experience an accident within the workplace.

Insurance

These can be failure to follow the appropriate safety procedures, or people misusing company equipment. Slipping in ice or simple accidents like falling down stairs or dropping a heavy load can also cause legal complications when it comes to figuring out who was responsible.

Depending on what type of incident has occurred, this guide covers the basics that you should know about your rights to allow you to plan your next steps.

It could be worth getting the help of a lawyer, especially if you find the process a little more complicated. Seek professional help to show you what you are entitled to, and what you can do to ensure that your medical bills are paid for.

Your Rights

Your Rights

With the ever-changing ways of the modern world, there are more areas for work than ever before. This means that the legal system has had to adapt in order to keep every worker as protected as they can be.

Computer based workers are naturally more prone to eye related injuries from straining, whereas warehouse workers are more vulnerable to dropping heavy items, or back injuries.

Depending on what caused your accident, it is worth reading the small print of your employer contracts in order to determine what you are entitled to. This can also help you to figure out what types of injuries are not covered by your current employer’s worker compensation insurance scheme.

An important part about understanding your rights as an employee is understanding that you have a right to refuse or challenge certain approaches that your company might be trying to take.

Being able to make the best decision for you that can allow the best chance of recovery is something that is often overlooked. Make sure that you are prioritizing yourself rather than bending over backwards for the sake of your employer.

Of course, not all employers will try to make the process more difficult, because a lot of companies value their workers. This means that they may try to get the best possible recovery time or rate of compensation in order to make you feel heard and taken care of.

This guide aims at providing you with the relevant tools in order to keep yourself protected and informed about the steps needed to seek compensation if needed.

Filing A Worker’s Compensation Claim After Injury

Regardless of how or when your employer finds out about your injury, they are required to immediately offer a claim form. They are technically not under any legal obligation to provide benefits until this form has been completed by both you and your employer.

A good practice to go into is logging the accident as soon as it happens, to allow the company records to be as up-to-date as they can be.

Keep a copy of the completed form for your records, and allow fourteen days for your employer’s insurance provider that handles worker’s compensations to respond. It is important to act fast when it comes to the filing of your claim because you will not be able to access the benefits until the appropriate paperwork has been completed.

Seeking Medical Assistance

A lot of employers require their employees to get medical assessments from a doctor or medical professional provided by them. You have the right to seek appropriate medical treatment and to gain a second opinion if it is deemed necessary. After a maximum period of thirty days, however, you are able to return to the care of your chosen physician.

Depending on how serious your injury is, you have a right to leave work and go to the emergency room. Your health is ultimately more important than completing an assigned task done before the end of the day.

Another thing to consider is how the state and company you work within affects how you should approach your employer. In terms of seeking medical attention

There is some variation determined by your employer and how they treat their workers. You could be faced with the prospect of a second, or even third professional medical opinion.

More stubborn employers might subject you to another doctor’s assessments if they doubt the severity of your injury. You have the right to appeal if your compensation is modified based on the second doctor’s opinion.

The Right To Appeal After An Outcome

You have a right to appeal if you think that you deserve better benefits than the ones that are being provided. This is because there are a lot of ways that employers will try to cut corners and save costs if they think that they can.

Knowing your rights can allow you to get the best possible deal from your employer, and even encourage them to set up better safety measures within the workplace to prevent another employee from becoming injured in the same way that you did.

A lot of people will tend to avoid appealing after an outcome has been decided because they do not fully understand the situation, or they don’t know what they are entitled to.

For this reason, a good lawyer can help you understand the process a little more, and allow you to feel confident when you are going against your employer if you aren’t satisfied with their coverage.

Filing For Disability Compensation Dependent On Duration

If you have an injury that requires long-term assistance, or it ends up leading to life-changing complications, then you have a right to file for disability compensation. Of course, there is a great deal of variation that exists when it comes to considering disability compensation.

However, you are entitled to access disability compensation provided by the Social Security Administration.

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) states that there are four main areas that determine an employee’s entitlement to disability compensation.

These include wage replacement, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, and a range of additional benefits that vary depending on the injury and amount of time away from work that is needed.

Returning To Work After Being Cleared

Your employer does not have a right to dissolve your role with the company while you are off recovering from a work related injury. Of course, they will likely find a temporary replacement to ensure that the necessary work gets done. However, you have a right to return to your regular work once you have recovered.

Whether your company removes your replacement, or positions them somewhere else once you return, your employer is legally required to keep your role available for when you have been cleared by doctors.

This is because it is not your fault that you had to spend time away from work due to an injury.

If your employer has had difficulty filling your role, they cannot legally harass or blackmail you into returning to work before you are deemed medically fit for work.

Try to make sure that you have a good job to go back to once you are ready, and allow yourself the time to recuperate and recover once the finances and contracts have been seen to.

Right To A Lawyer During The Entire Process

Another important thing that you are entitled to is a legal professional for the duration of the process. A good lawyer will help you through each stage of the process without judgement, while ensuring that you get everything that you are entitled to.

A lawyer can be beneficial if your employer is reluctant to give you access to the necessary resources, as they can encourage you to get the right help.

In every state, you are legally entitled to pursue a workers’ compensation claim without being threatened, harassed, or reprised by your employer. It can be beneficial to be represented by a lawyer if there are legal complications associated with your injury.

It can also be highly valuable if you have an objective set of eyes taking a closer look at the situation, because it can allow you to be represented correctly.

Another benefit of this is that a lawyer can help with the paperwork that is necessary. They can debunk some of the jargon that is often seen in different types of contracts, and allow you to be represented as a professional who is aware of their rights.

A lawyer can allow you to get everything that you need in order to recover from the accident. A good lawyer can also provide you with the legal protection as an employee to remain safe and accounted for if your employer refuses to co-operate.

Tips To Remember

Tips To Remember

Of course, there is a huge amount of variation that exists within the umbrella term of “workplace accidents”, and there is an enormous range of factors that can influence the compensatory benefits that are received following an injury within the workplace.

These are some tips that are worth keeping in mind for anyone who is recovering from an accident, or who wants to understand the process in more depth.

Report The Accident Properly

Even if you think it was a minor incident that doesn’t need the extra paperwork, you should ensure that the accident has been correctly reported, ensuring that you have covered all basis. It is surprising how many people do not report their injuries or accidents when they happen.

A lot of workplaces around the country require accidents to be logged within the same day if possible. Of course, this isn’t always how it works because some people will head straight to the emergency room without getting the chance to fill in the right paperwork.

For this reason, a lot of the workplaces are slightly more flexible when it comes to correctly reporting an accident.

Take the time to check that you have correctly filled in the appropriate forms, and that you have signed and dated everything. Make sure that you keep a copy of each form that has been filed in order to get everything that you are entitled to.

Even if you aren’t sure what each piece of information means, try to keep copies of everything in a safe place so that you can show it to your lawyer if needed.

Waiting Too Long To Report The Accident

Another reason why you should report the accident straight away is because there is often an allotted time period to do so. It might be too late to report an accident if you didn’t do it right away, which can be one of the main reasons why people don’t receive the compensation they deserve.

In some cases, employees who have filed their information too late have had to financially support themselves while they wait for the compensation to come in.

This can be especially challenging if you do not have a very substantial amount of money saved up. Regardless of your injury, it is worth filing for compensation right away in order to pay your medical bills on time.

Not Returning To Work When You Are Able To

There is some level of variation to this when it comes to the extent of the injury, and what type of work environment you are employed within. If you do not feel like you are ready to return to work, or if your employer harassed or threatened you in some way, then you may be able to refuse to return to work.

However, it is worth carefully considering your options before doing this.

Some employees will not return to work once they have been deemed medically fit to do so, because they might feel threatened or unsafe in the workplace.

This can be due to managers or supervisors threatening them, or the fact that the company might not have made appropriate changes to their safety procedures.

If your company has not taken the time to reassess their preventative measures in order to avoid a similar accident, then you might be able to refuse to go back to work.

If you believe that you have the right to refuse to return to work once you are able to, then it is definitely worth speaking with your lawyer about whether there are any justifiable reasons behind this decision.

On the other hand, some people might not return to work once they have fully recovered because they simply do not want to. This can cause additional complications to the legal process, because your company might begin to ask for some of their money back that you might have used for medical costs.

If possible, try to return to work within the agreed time, so that you can avoid additional discussions about your employment.

Of course, there is a great deal of variation worth considering, which is why it is recommended that you carry out your own thorough research, and invest in a reliable lawyer if possible.

What To Do For Negligence Of Third Party

Third parties are one of the most common complications that can make it more difficult to access the benefits provided by your employers’ insurance providers. If you have had an accident involving another person within your workplace, then things tend to be a little more complex.

You can file a claim against this person if they played a role in your accident.

Always seek professional advice from a lawyer if you are unsure about the process, but you can file a complaint against another worker or faulty piece of machinery if it was instrumental in your accident.

These cases are usually aimed at preventing an event similar to what you went through from happening again.

Because third party negligence is more complex, claims are often handled by the state or federal courts. Because they take place in the form of civil lawsuits, it is critical that you are represented by a lawyer, and understand all the potential outcomes.

Third parties can be another person who might have played a role in your injury, or even the owners of a piece of heavy machinery if that was involved in your accident.

When Work Injury Compensation Is Not Available

While most employers are legally required to provide work injury compensation across every state, there are several exceptions where they do not need to be covered. If you work in agriculture, are a domestic employee, seasonal worker, or an independent contractor, it is usually your responsibility to seek medical insurance.

You will need to pay your own medical bills, which can be a little disheartening when considering the fact that it was your occupation that led to an accident. For this reason, a lot of employees who do not feel satisfied with the service and coverage provided by their employer will file lawsuits against them.

Medical bills can be extremely expensive, in addition to long-term treatments such as regular medicines and specialist services. Make sure that you are working within your rights if you are considering this course of action.

In addition to this, another reason why work injury compensation might not be available is if you were injured in the workplace while you were under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

Many companies carry out regular drugs tests with their employees, but there is very little leeway within the legal system when it comes to workers’ compensation if there is evidence that your state of consciousness was altered in some way.

What Is Considered A Workplace Injury?

There is a lot of confusion about what a workplace injury actually is, because of how broad the definition can be. A workplace injury, within the context that we are talking about, is an accident that has caused damage to you or another employee.

This is usually due to misuse of equipment, incorrectly following safety protocol, or unsafe working environment.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons that can affect the safety of the workplace, depending on what area your profession lies within. If the injury happened within the place that you work, your employer is typically held responsible.

This means that they will need to find means of covering your medical costs, and a replacement worker to cover prolonged time off if necessary.

By definition, a workplace injury is an accident that has happened while an employee was following their regular daily activities. Of course, there is a huge amount of variation amongst workplaces in terms of what is more likely to happen.

Those who drive for a living are more legally protected by their employer in the event of a car accident than someone who works in a store, for example.

Consider Sources Of Advice

There is a great deal of resources available online that you can use to educate yourself on your rights as an employee. These can include valuable information and tools to help you understand what is expected of you throughout the legal and contractual process necessary.

It is worth carrying out your own research to see what you are eligible for, and what can be done in order to remain within the law without compromising your principles.

If you are someone who needs additional help to process information, then there is currently an impressive range of books and other resources on the market that have been created with employees in mind. Being able to compare your scenario to similar events can help to empower you and show you what course of action to take.

In addition, you could consider speaking with your friends or family members about your situation. This can help you figure out what would be the best route to go down, and what you need to know beforehand. It can be especially helpful if you have a friend who has experience with their own workplace accident, or even who practices as a lawyer.

Another useful source of advice could be your colleagues. This is because they might understand the company’s policies a little better, or even be able to offer another perspective to the accident.

Additionally, your colleagues can keep you updated on whether there are any safety measures that are being put in place in order to prevent an accident from occurring again.

Safety measures can include replacing stair railings with more structurally sound ones, ensuring that all employees are fully trained to use equipment safely, or adding salt to the ground if it is prone to become very slippery during icy conditions.

In terms of fighting for what is right, it could be worth investigating how the safety procedures of the company should work, and comparing it to what techniques you might have seen in place.

Consult State Laws In Your Area For Labor Requirements

There are a lot of legal variations across the country, which is why you should take your local state laws into account when determining what compensation you can apply for. Check with your local council to figure out what legal requirements are put on your employer before deciding what approach to take.

This can determine the chances of remaining within the law, and ensuring that you have the upper hand that comes with access to information and knowledge.

If you are unable to access the local council’s information, then your lawyer should be equipped with the tools needed to show you what the state laws are and what that means for labor requirements.

Recovery Impact And Advice

Recovery Impact And Advice

It can be hard to know how to deal with a workplace injury and to fight for what you need, which is why we have included some of the ways that your workplace accident can impact both your physical health and mental health. These are highly variable, and more extreme injuries will have more severe implications in the long run.

However, there are a lot of ways in which you can fight for what you need once you have fully recovered. Here is how a workplace injury can impact your health on a long-term and short-term basis.

Physical Health

Physical injuries are the most commonly discussed forms of workplace injury, because they tend to arise the most frequently. An employee’s physical health is highly important, which is why it is up to the company you work for to provide adequate coverage when you are suffering from an injury.

Depending on your job, having a limit to your physical health as a result of a workplace injury can impact your ability to carry out your regular duties.

Depending on the extent of your injury, this can have short-term and long-term implications within the workplace. Some people can face life changing injuries that limit their physical abilities, which might make them less able to return to the role that they were working in before.

Certain disabilities can emerge as a result of more severe workplace injuries. Those that were once able to work in factories, warehouses might need to change their role due to physical limitations. Amputations, head injuries, and similar injuries can have drastic effects on your lifestyle as well as occupation.

Mental Health

In addition to the physical effects of an injury, there are a range of ways in which your mental health can have an impact. The legal system and process of getting money through your employer’s insurance company can be extremely stressful.

This is mostly because of the seemingly endless amounts of files and complicated paperwork that needs to be carefully looked at and signed before even accessing the money to pay for your medical bills.

The impact of a workplace injury can have an impact on your mental health, because it might feel wrong to challenge figures of authority. Self-doubt and stress are likely to be experienced in excessive amounts during this process.

While the long-term effects of a workplace injury on the mental health depend on your baseline mental health, and how you handle stress, the process of gaining workplace compensation can be very intense and put a certain amount of pressure on you as the employee.

It can be challenging to fight for what you need in order to pay your bills and keep your head above water financially, which is why it is worth trying to seek therapy or counselling if it is offered by your employer.

Having someone to talk to within a confidential environment can be highly beneficial when it comes to keeping your head up, processing what has happened, and moving forward with a fresh perspective.

Another reason why you might face long-term effects on your mental health is the fact that you might not have the most co-operative manager. If your employer is harassing or threatening you, then you should consider changing your employer, or address this issue with members of the company who have authority over this person.

Closing Points

Man Knowing his Rights

There are a lot of things that can contribute to your overall wellbeing when it comes to experiencing, filing, healing, and recuperating after a workplace accident. The amount of workplace accidents that occur on a regular basis is enormous, which is why there are so many differing contracts with employers that can determine what you may be entitled to.

Life changing injuries can have long-term implications on the workplace, because it can require them to change your job role or find something that is more suitable for you.

In addition to physical injuries, you could face a range of mental health implications. These can range from high levels of stress, to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), that will all need some level of treatment in order to manage everyday life.

To summarize, it could be worth doing your own research in order to figure out what compensation you can apply for. It is definitely worth doing your own research to find more specific detail regarding your circumstances.

If you find yourself needing additional support, then you could benefit from sourcing a lawyer who is more experienced within workplace accidents. They can help you to get the financial help needed to get you back on your feet.