Did you recently break your leg, cut your finger, or develop an illness due to your job? If you’re currently recovering from a work accident, the last thing that you want to do is read through laws and other legal documents. That’s why we have gathered the most frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation claims and law and answered them for you.
However, this article is not comprehensive and may not address every legal issue or situation possible. If you have questions after reading through this, contact a worker’s compensation lawyer for additional information and guidance.
Q: What do I do if I’m injured on the job?
If you suffered a work injury, here’s what you should do:
- Report your injury as soon as you can. If you are unable to report it yourself due to the nature of your injury, have a coworker document it and report it to your supervisor.
- Get medical attention. You should request medical attention even if you believe that it is a minor injury. Some injuries may not appear serious at first but could increase in severity later on. You want as much documentation about your injury as possible.
- Request a workers compensation form. As soon as you can, speak to your human resources department and ask for the appropriate forms to fill out in order to file a workers compensation claim.
If you do not report your injury, your employer is not required to honor your benefits or help pay for any of your medical bills. Do not wait until the injury becomes more serious to report it. If you decide to tell your manager about the accident significantly after it happens, they might argue that your injury isn’t an outcome of work. This could affect whether or not you receive help from your employers during your recovery period.
Q: Am I required to use my company’s doctor?
Whether you are or are not you need to use your company’s physician depends on their requirements. Some businesses stipulate that employees must use their doctor for the duration of their recovery. However, others may only require a month or two. Review your company’s contract with a work accident lawyer.
If you are unsatisfied with your company’s doctor, you can request a change or pick your own. It is also possible for your state to grant you the right to choose a doctor if you have an industrial injury.
Q: Can I be fired while I’m recovering from a work injury?
Your employer is typically not allowed to terminate your employment due to your injury. They are not allowed to discriminate against you. However, if it is clear that you will not be able to perform your duties, even after recovering, it is possible that they can lay you off. They would need medical evidence that you won’t be able to do the job. Your employer is also allowed to hire a new employee to fill your role if they are short staffed.
Q: What workers’ compensation benefits can I claim?
There are four standard benefits that you can claim.
- Medical treatment: Your medical bills should be completely taken care of. The insurance company should cover this.
- Disability payments: If you are unable to return to work due to your injuries, they should provide partial compensation while you are recovering.
- Permanent disability settlement: If you are permanently disabled due to your work accident, your employer should provide you with compensation. The amount of the compensation depends on the significance of your injury.
- Vocational rehabilitation: If you are no longer able to do your old job, you may be compensated for any classes or training you’d need for another position.
Q: What if I can’t return to my usual position after the accident?
This varies from state to state, but employers can generally offer you a different or modified position in the company. However, this may include taking a pay cut, working different hours, and more. If you decide not to accept this change, the insurance company is not obligated to help you find another job.
If your employer can’t offer you another job, they need to give you vocational rehabilitation benefits. This was previously mentioned as a benefit you could receive. Vocational rehabilitation will help you get back into the workforce by teaching you new skills.
Q: What are commonly overlooked industrial injuries?
Here are some of the most commonly overlooked work injuries.
- Hearing loss. Being exposed to loud noises for an extended amount of time will often result in hearing loss.
- Lung diseases. Working around industrial chemicals for a long time can result in lung damage and affect your breathing.
- Heart attacks. If your job is consistently putting you through stress or stressful situations, it could result in a heart attack.
- Hand injuries. Doing the same hand movements every day could lead to carpal tunnel, nerve damage, and more.
- Eye injuries. If your job requires you to look at a computer screen all day, it could significantly strain your eyes and damage your vision.