Employers are required under state law to provide workers a safe environment while on the job. Sometimes they fall short of this duty and employees get injured. On other occasions, despite the business taking all reasonable steps to prevent injuries, they still occur. Injuries at work can include broken bones and sprains resulting from slips and falls, worsening of pre-existing conditions, occupational injuries, and psychological illnesses.
Each state has laws which should help employees who are affected by a work injury accident, although the specifics can vary from state to state. If you get injured on the job, you need to take the appropriate steps to ensure you get any compensation to which you’re entitled.
What to do when you get injured
The first thing you should do when you suffer an accident on the job is to notify a supervisor. Some jurisdictions require a written report while others accept verbal notification. To be on the safe side, make a written report as soon as possible so there is a paper trail. In some cases, the statute of limitations for workplace injuries is quite short so you should file your report immediately. You should also seek prompt medical attention.
Filing a claim
As soon as you report your injury or your employer otherwise becomes aware of it, you should be given a claim form. It is similar to an insurance claim form and you need to complete this if you wish to request benefits in light of your injury. Employers, hospitals, and doctor’s offices are required to have the necessary forms which would enable you to start the compensation process.
Make sure you only fill out the Employee section of the form and that you sign it and date it correctly. You should then either mail it or hand deliver it to your workplace. Make sure you do this quickly so your benefits can be processed at the earliest opportunity.
When you need a lawyer
You do not always need a lawyer when seeking workers’ compensation. However, if your case is complex, or there is something you don’t understand, you should seek the services of a legal expert in the area.
If you don’t like the outcome of your claim, you may also want to reach out to a lawyer for advice on how to proceed. For example, your employer may dispute your benefit claim. If this happens and you are a federal employee you can ask for your case to be heard before the Workers’ Compensation Board.
If you don’t win here, you have the option of appealing to take your case to a Workers’ Compensation Administrative Law Judge. The final step would be to seek redress in the judicial system.
If you are not a federal employee, the law courts will be your first line of redress after a dissatisfactory response to your claim.
State laws generally have you covered in the unfortunate instance of workplace injury. You need to make sure you take all the required steps immediately after the incident to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.a