Every year, millions of workers in the US experience work-related injuries despite regulations requiring employers to provide a reasonable, safe, and healthy working environment. If you have recently been injured at work, it’s vital to understand what you need to do to protect your legal rights.
Here are six things you should know if you’re injured at work.
1. You need to report your work injury to your employer
After a job-related accident, it’s vital to immediately report the incident to your employer, even if you feel fine. This ensures you can claim your workers’ compensation benefits as in some states, you only have a few days to file your report.
Additionally, in some cases, to protect your workers’ compensation eligibility, you may need to see a doctor approved by your employer. Ensure you submit a notice of your injury in writing to have evidence if your case needs support later on.
2. You have rights
Although workers’ compensation laws differ from state to state, a few are common across the United States. These include:
1. The right to seek medical attention.
2. The right to file a claim for your illness or injury in court.
3. The right to file a disability claim if can’t return to work because of your work-related injuries.
4. The right to return to work if approved by a doctor.
3. You can file a claim if you got injured when you were not working
Many employees assume work injury claims are only legible if they were working when they got injured. However, this isn’t true. As long as you were injured at work due to the negligence of your employer, you’re entitled to claim workers’ compensation.
This means even if you slip in the bathroom or fall down the stairs, you can file a claim. You can hire a personal injury lawyer to help you determine fault.
4. Not all workers are eligible for workers’ compensation
In some cases, you may not qualify for workers’ compensation. For instance:
• When your employer is exempt from workers’ compensation under state law
• When you’re an independent contractor
Although you may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, an experienced lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim for all your injury-related losses.
5. You need to hire an experienced lawyer
Workers’ compensation laws can be complex and confusing. That’s why you need to hire an experienced attorney to help you navigate the various processes required for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
Without a lawyer, you run the risk of insurance companies mistreating you and offering you an unfair settlement. On the other hand, an attorney can make sure you collect maximum benefits for your work-related injury.
Besides, most workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you’ll only pay for legal fees once you win your case.
6. A worker’s compensation case and personal injury case are different
A worker’s compensation case is generally covered by your employer’s insurance provider to reimburse lost wages, disability, and medical treatment, following a work-related injury. Alternatively, a personal injury case involves financial compensation from a third party that caused the accident. This can be a vendor or supplier.
You can file a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim to maximize your financial recovery. But first, consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to determine what form of compensation you’re eligible to receive.
Need a workers’ compensation lawyer?
At Guy Levy Law, we provide a free initial consultation for work-related injuries at our San Diego office. Contact us today to book your appointment.