Every year, millions of workers in the USA are injured or killed on the job. Fortunately, most of them are covered by worker’s compensation insurance, which is a requirement by state laws. Worker’s compensation covers the cost for any expenses as a result of a workplace injury. For instance, it can cover lost wages, medical treatment, funeral expenses, and ongoing care costs.
If you’ve been injured at work, there are several steps you need to take to get the most out of your worker’s compensation. Failure to adhere to these steps can result in delays and costly mistakes, affecting your claims process.
So, what are some of the steps you need to take when you’re injured at work?
1. Immediately report your injury
Each state requires workers to give notice of their injuries by a certain deadline. Therefore, report your injury to your boss immediately to avoid missing any deadlines. You might lose your worker’s compensation benefits if you wait too long.
2. Get prompt medical treatment
It’s not uncommon to hear workers failing to seek medical attention after a workplace injury, especially if there are no visible injuries. Unfortunately, this can adversely affect your case as the defendant can argue your injuries never happened, or they weren’t as serious as you claimed.
To avoid this, don’t delay getting any treatment, even if your injuries are minor.
3. Hire a personal injury lawyer
Filing a worker’s compensation claim isn’t a simple and straightforward process. There are a lot of legal aspects involved that can be confusing and overwhelming. Luckily, by hiring a reliable personal injury lawyer, you can have a professional guide you through the process and file the claims for you.
This way, you can focus on your recovery as you await your worker’s compensation benefits. A personal injury lawyer also ensures the insurance company doesn’t deny or reduce your benefits by providing you with the legal representation you deserve.
Understanding your worker’s compensation benefits
It’s no secret that many employees don’t understand worker’s compensation laws. And, since these laws vary by state, knowing what applies to you and your situation can be difficult. That’s why it’s wise to hire a personal injury lawyer from the start. They understand worker’s compensation and can protect your legal rights, ensuring you receive your benefits.
Some of the legal rights that are common across most states include:
• You have the right to file a worker’s compensation claim for your injury/illness in the state industrial court or worker’s compensation court
• If your physician releases you to return to work, you have the right to return to your job
• You have the right to seek medical attention
• If you’re not able to return to work because of your injury/illness, you have the right to disability compensation
• You have the right to be represented by an attorney
Understanding your worker’s compensation benefits also means understanding your right to decline offers or requests from the insurance company. Most insurers prefer settling out of court and may offer low settlements that may not cover your medical and care costs in the long run. In such cases, don’t be afraid to say no. The money may sound a lot at the time but may be less than what you deserve.
Alternatively, if your boss offers you some form of incentive to persuade you against filing your claim, you have the right to decline. Some employers also harass their employees, making it difficult for them to exercise their rights. But, with the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can avoid such issues and receive the compensation you deserve.
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