Chances are that you go to work, do your best, and expect fair compensation for your contributions. This is reasonable in our system of exchange.
However, there are times when your job puts you at risk of injury. Even when you are as careful as possible, and follow all the regulations, there is a chance of injury at work. In some cases, the job you do might carry a higher risk of injury than normal.
In order to ensure that you are properly compensated if you are injured during the course of your work for your employer, businesses pay into their state’s Worker’s Compensation Fund. (These funds might have a variety of names, based on the state.) When you are injured, money from the fund is supposed to be used to help you get the medical care you need, as well as provide you with rehabilitation and training if you need a little extra help getting back on the job. If you die as a result of your work, your family should receive benefits.
The idea of the Worker’s Compensation system is a great one, since it is meant to keep you from sliding into poverty if you are injured as a result of your job.
Protecting Your Rights to Worker’s Compensation
Unfortunately, there are times when your employer or the state might not have your best interests at heart. While the idea of Worker’s Compensation is a good one, sometimes the people in charge of your benefits are more interested in the bottom line than in seeing that you are restored to health or — in the case of disability — provided for in a fair manner.
In order to save money, you might be offered a settlement that isn’t fair, or you might be told that you have already used up all of your benefits. You might not be adequately compensated for your health care costs, or you might be told that you won’t receive the money you need to retrain for your position. This can be an especially large problem if you have a serious injury. Small injuries are usually taken care of fairly quickly, but serious injuries, especially those that result in extended or permanent disability, can result in huge fights for workers to get what they are entitled to.
Some of the ways your Worker’s Compensation rights might be violated include the following:
Refusal of benefits to which you are entitled.
Denied extended disability for a major injury.
Denied permanent disability, even though you are no longer able to perform your job.
Pressured into returning to work before you truly able to handle the job (risking re-injury).
Required to go to specific doctor preferred by the employer — and who might certify you as ready to go back to work even if you’re not — instead of being able to go to your own doctor.
Pressured to work in a “new” position that is supposed to accommodate the injury, even though you don’t feel ready to go back to work.
Attempts to keep you from getting the treatment you need.
Threats to cut off your benefits unless you meet a specific timetable, or meet other conditions.
When you experience an injury at work, it can make sense to immediately contact a personal injury attorney. A lawyer that specializes in personal injury cases can give you an idea of how much you can expect for your injury, as well as help you understand the Worker’s Compensation system and ensure that your rights are protected.
Even if you have a small injury, it can help to get the advice of a lawyer. In some cases, you might not realize the true extent of your injury until later. A personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of filing your claim, ensure that you receive fair compensation, and keep your employer and the state government in line.
Anytime you have to deal with a system that is overseen by someone whose interests might not align exactly with yours, it makes sense to consult an attorney. And if you are injured on the job, a personal injury attorney can help make sure that you are properly represented, and you get what’s fair.