A total of 5,250 workers died from work-related injuries in the country in 2018. That’s a 2% increased from the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of nonfatal occupational injuries was unchanged year-over-year at 2.8 cases per 100 workers.
When you’re injured on the job, you might ask yourself, “I was injured at work, what are my rights?” Understanding your options can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Unsure of how to proceed? Keep reading to learn what to do when injured at work.
With this guide, you can explore your options and make the most of a difficult situation. Learn what to do if you get hurt at work with these tips.
Get Medical Help
More than 229,000 injuries occur due to contact with objects and equipment. These injuries were so severe than employees missed time from work.
Immediately after getting hurt at work, consult a doctor. If necessary, you might want to visit an emergency room.
Your employer should pay for travel costs if you have to go to the doctor or hospital the day you’re injured.
If you’re not seriously injured, however, you should ask your employer if they require you to visit a doctor. Ask if you can choose which doctor you’ll visit as well. In some cases, your employer will choose your doctor for you.
If you’re not satisfied after your appointment, you might want to visit another doctor.
It’s important to note that you’re entitled to a second opinion under workers’ compensation laws. If workers’ compensation won’t pay for the second doctor you visit, you might want to pay for it yourself. Either way, make sure to keep track of all of your medical bills and reports.
During the appointment:
- Tell the doctor what happened
- List all of your symptoms
- Make sure the doctor makes a note of what you say
- Ask the doctor to send a Health Professional’s Report
What is the extent of your injuries? If they’re severe, you might lose more in benefits than it would cost you to visit a second doctor. If you have health insurance, your insurance might cover your second doctor’s visit.
Tell a Supervisor
After sustaining an injury, make sure to ask yourself, “I was injured at work; what are my rights?” Your employer can help provide some guidance.
Whether your injury is minor or major, make sure to tell your supervisor of your injury as soon as possible. They might have a specific set of rules and steps you’ll need to follow. If you don’t know what those rules are, make sure to ask your supervisor for details.
In the meantime, let your supervisor know if you have any safety concerns.
Your supervisor might ask you to complete an official accident report. Many states require you to report an accident by a specific deadline under workers’ compensation laws. To qualify, you need to report that you got hurt at work regardless of the extent of your injury.
Your report could encourage your employer to implement new safety measures, even if the accident didn’t cause injuries. These precautions can prevent someone else from getting hurt in the future.
After you’ve been injured at work, it’s essential to keep your notes regarding the accident safe. Try to make notes as soon as possible after the accident. That way, the details are fresh in your mind.
In severe cases, you might become so distracted by your injures that you forget the details of your case. That’s why it’s important to take notes as soon as possible. Make sure to document everything, including:
- Where the accident took place
- What you were doing when the accident happened
- The date and time
- Names of anyone who witnessed the accident
Your employer might argue that you didn’t get hurt at work. Maintaining strong notes will help strengthen your claim after the accident.
Make a Claim
After getting hurt at work, you have the opportunity to make a claim for workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation benefits will cover your injuries or any disease you develop from the work you’ve done. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board covers workers’ compensation.
You don’t have to prove that your work was the only cause of your injury or disease. However, you do need to show that it was a significant contribution.
For example, maybe you’ve sustained back pain after lifting a heavy object at work. Over time, that back pain can get worse, even at home. Your problem might have started at home and gotten worse at work, too.
While some injuries happen during an accident, others develop over time. Make sure to note how long you’ve experienced symptoms within your claim.
Contact a Lawyer
You might want to consider contacting a workers comp lawyer before filing your claim. Make sure to choose an attorney who has experience handling workers’ compensation claims. Their previous experience can help strengthen your case.
Most initial consultations are free. Contacting a lawyer can help you determine what benefits are likely available based on your case.
Make sure to provide the attorney with all of the evidence you’ve gathered. They’ll need your medical records in order to support your case. Without evidence, however, they might have a difficult time proving fault.
Don’t wait to contact a lawyer. The sooner you schedule your consultations, the sooner you can explore your options.
Laws in almost every state require employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. In these states, employees can’t sue their employers after sustaining an injury at work.
However, an employee can receive compensation if the employee’s own negligence caused the injury.
Any cases that involve asbestos exposure are considered exceptions to the rule. If you were exposed to asbestos at work, and now suffer from a related health issue, speak to your lawyer about suing for damages.
I Was Injured at Work. What Are My Rights?: Your Guide to Workers’ Compensation
You don’t have to keep asking, “I was injured at work; what are my rights?” anymore. Instead, you can file a claim for workers’ compensation to cover your medical bills, injuries, and more.
Don’t wait to file your claim. Consider contacting a lawyer as soon as possible as well to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
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