If you get injured at work in the United States, you have certain legal rights. These rights vary from state to state, but they generally include the following rights.

Your Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ compensation is a government program that provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job. Employers are the ones who purchase workers’ compensation insurance, as almost all states (except Texas) require it. There are certain parameters and exceptions for this requirement – such as how many employees work at the company – but most employees in the United States are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Once a claim is filed, the benefits provided by workers’ comp can include medical care, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation.

Your Right to Immediate Medical Treatment

Your employer is required to provide you with medical treatment for your work-related injury. This treatment should be provided by a doctor who is approved by your state’s workers’ compensation program. Make sure you seek medical attention right away after your injury. Even if you don’t think you need medical care, getting documentation from a doctor will be an important step in filing your claim.

Your Right to Zero Retaliation

Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This means that your employer cannot fire you, demote you, or otherwise punish you for filing a claim or participating in a claim. Retaliation is illegal under federal and state law, and happens when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for filing a claim. If you experience retaliation after your workplace injury, make sure to document everything and then contact an attorney.

You Right to Have Your Claim Heard by an Impartial Judge

If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to have your claim heard by an impartial judge. This judge will decide whether or not your claim is valid.

In addition to these general rights, you may also have other rights under state or federal law. For example, if your injury was caused by your employer’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. In most cases, however, workers’ compensation exists in the place of personal injury lawsuits.


If you have been injured at work, you should also know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you understand your rights and options. These resources include:

  • Your state’s workers’ compensation agency. This agency can provide you with information about workers’ compensation benefits and how to file a claim.
  • An experienced workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and represent you in your workers’ compensation case.
  • More resources can be found linked on this page such as OSHA’s injury recordkeeping requirements and worker safety information.

First Steps

After a workplace injury, it is important to take action right away. You should report your injury to your supervisor or employer and seek medical attention. You should also file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. By taking these steps, you can protect your rights and get the benefits you deserve.

Here are some additional tips for protecting your rights if you are injured at work:

  • Keep a record of your injury. This includes taking pictures of your injury, keeping a journal of your pain and symptoms, and getting copies of all medical records.
  • Get a copy of your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. This policy will explain your rights and benefits under the law.
  • Ask your employer for a copy of your company’s safety policies and procedures. These policies should explain how to report workplace hazards and how to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Do not talk to your employer about your injury without an attorney present. Your employer may try to get you to sign a waiver of your rights or to say something that could hurt your case.

By following these steps, you can protect your rights and get the benefits you deserve if you are injured at work.

Final Tips

In addition to the information above, here are some additional things to keep in mind if you are injured at work:

  • The deadline for filing a workers’ compensation claim varies from state to state, so it is important to file your claim as soon as possible.
  • You may be eligible for temporary disability benefits while you are recovering from your injury.
  • If you are unable to return to your old job, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.
  • If you believe that your employer is not complying with the law, you can file a complaint with your state’s workers’ compensation agency.