Injured at Work: What Are My Legal Rights?

work injury workers' compensation

Each state has its own laws that protect employees should they get injured at work. Despite state-to-state variances on these laws, each state is required to provide a reasonably safe work environment. However, accidents do happen and sometimes individuals are injured on the job.

Steps to Take Following Injury

If you have been injured on the job, the first thing you should do is report your injury to your employer. Typically, you must report your injury the same day that it happens, though sometimes that may not be possible. Always report injuries as quickly as you can.

Next, be sure to file your injury with the workers’ compensation court in your state. By reporting your injury to your employer, as well as the courts, many of your rights are automatically established.

What Rights Do I Have?

Should you get injured on the job, you have legal rights that you should be aware of. While each state handles work-related injuries differently, there are several legal rights that are common in most states:

1. You have the legal right to formally claim your injury with your states workers’ compensation court.
2. You have the right to seek medical treatment.
3. If your physician releases you to do so, you have the legal right to resume work.
4. If your injury prevents you from working, either temporarily or permanently, you have the legal right to some form of disability compensation.
5. You have the legal right to appeal any decisions made by your employer or workers’ compensation court that you do not agree with.
6. You have the legal right to seek legal counsel following your work-related injury.

Just as you have the right to make certain legal decisions, you also have the right to refuse offers made by your employer. Say for instance your employer tries to bargain with you so that you do not file a workers compensation claim, you have the legal right to say “no.” Even more, if your employer suggests that you use your own health coverage for your injury, you have the legal right to refuse this option.

In every state, employees are legally protected from harassment related to workers compensation claims. If your employer harasses or threatens you in any way, speak to an attorney immediately. It is illegal for your employer to hassle you or create a hostile work environment if it is related to your workers compensation claim.

Tips for Successful Workers’ Compensation Claims

In order to get the workers compensation you deserve, it is imperative to act diligently following your injury. Here are a few tips to make sure your claim is successful:

1. Report the injury as soon as possible
2. Get the name of any witnesses
3. Get medical treatment if needed, and retrieve all medical records involving the injury
4. Be detailed when explaining how your injury occurred

a. Oftentimes, insurance companies will deny workers’ compensation claims if the details of the events surrounding the injury are not fully described in medical records

5. Be consistent in your statements regarding the injury when reporting to your employer and your doctor
6. Allow the insurer to access any medical records relating to your injury by signing a limited medical authorization

Seek Legal Assistance

If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced attorney who can help construct your workers’ compensation case. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, your case could be complicated and a knowledgeable attorney will be able to organize your claim.

 

Bighorn Staff

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