If you have been in an unfortunate accident at work that causes you injury it is important to know that you have the right to file a Worker’s Compensation claim. This is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment.
As an employee, if you are injured on the job, you are entitled to receive a certain recovery, based upon fixed maximums, which are set on a state-by-state basis. Employers are required to have Worker’s Compensation insurance and both employer and employee give up some legal rights.
You have the right to receive a portion of your pay while you are in the process of healing or while you are on restrictions from your doctor.
There is the potential to receive a lump sum for any disability sustained from a work-related injury. However, this would hinder on the decision of a judge. Worker’s Compensation was designed as a way to avoid the courtrooms. As the employee, you give up the right to go to court and sue the employer but you are entitled to receive a certain recovery based on the maximums set by the state you live in.
If you are having issues with your claim, you may need the help of an attorney to get the medical care you need or to get your wages while you are off work, especially if you are filing for disability.
Stages of filing a compensation
It is imperative that you give notice to your employer immediately or if the injury is caused over time, report it has soon as you find out it is work related, and file your claim right away. Once you file your Worker’s Compensation claim, you will want to see a doctor and bring your claim to the office. You will want to participate in any treatment prescribed and if it is at all possible, return to work as soon as you can. By returning to work, even if it is a light-duty job, you are more likely to recover and earn your pre-injury salary.
When you are done with your treatment you may be requested to attend a mediation with your lawyer to review your healing progressions, and if applicable, evaluate your disability.
If you don't agree with the insurance company, the next phase may be a hearing where your attorney can submit evidence of your injury. Most likely, both your lawyer and the insurance company will have you see different doctors to give you a rating. The judge will carefully review the results and your case should come to a conclusion. If not, then you might be able to appeal.
Keep Yourself Safe
As an employee, you are protected by law against unsafe working conditions. It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure a safe working environment and it is important that you are familiar with any safety hazards, be provided with the proper safety gear for the job (goggles, hard hat, gloves, etc.), be aware of OSHA laws, and are informed about any toxic chemicals you may be exposed to.
With knowledge and awareness, supervisors and workers minimize the risk for job-related injuries. OSHA has a set of laws and regulations in place to ensure that all safety precautions are being utilized. You can read about them here as they speak of personal protective equipment, safety management of highly hazardous chemicals, and other workplace hazards.
You owe it to yourself and your family to take precautions, wear the proper protective gear, and to take the steps needed to be safe from any risks that can be involved while working. If you have any questions or concerns, speak up and inform your employer immediately.
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