Legal Questions (And Answers) After a Workplace Injury
Have you recently suffered a workplace injury? What are your rights? We discuss the common legal questions you may have and provide the answers.
Getting injured while on the job is no fun in the first place. Not only do you have the pain or discomfort of an injury to deal with. In addition, you’ll need to figure out how to cover the expenses of your workplace injury.
That’s why it’s smart to get educated ahead of time about what to do in case of a workplace injury. This is true, in particular, when working within one of America’s most dangerous occupations.
The good news, though, is that you’ve come to the right place by reading this article. Detailed below is everything you to know about after a workplace injury and workers’ compensation. Don’t take the risk of remaining ignorant about your rights and responsibilities.
Instead, keep reading for reliable guidance on how to handle a workplace injury. That way, you can minimize your stress levels when handling the process of workers’ compensation.
What Are the First Things I Should Do After a Workplace Injury?
If you get injured on the job, the first thing to do is take a look around. Are you able to maneuver yourself into a safer location, if need be? Then, is anyone else around you in danger of injury, too?
Consider the following statistic reported by the United States Department of Labor. It indicates that in the year 2017 alone, there were around 2.8 million unfatal workplace accidents throughout the country. It’s an unfortunate truth, though, that these accidents do happen.
After you ensure yourself and others are safe, report to your supervisor as soon as possible. If you aren’t mobile after the accident, ask a fellow employee to find your supervisor on your behalf.
Then, talk to your supervisor about seeking medical help. It’s important to understand your rights as an employee, as detailed below. Don’t be afraid to go to the hospital – even if you have to leave your shift early.
In addition, talk to your supervisor about filing a workers’ compensation claim form at once. This is wise to do before you go to the hospital, by the way.
While it’s not required, you might as well start the process before you take the time to recover. Otherwise, your employer is under no legal obligation to pay your medical bills. Plus, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this potential coverage?
What Are My Rights After My Workplace Injury?
Of course, recognize that not every workers’ compensation claim results in the same coverage. For the most part, those specifics are determined by different state regulations.
Still, there are some underlying rights with which you should be familiar as an employee. You never know when you’ll need to use workers’ compensation rights. That’s why it’s best to learn about them ahead of time, if possible.
First, when you’re injured on the job, remember that you have the legal right to seek medical treatment. That’s the case with or without workers’ compensation coverage by your employer.
You also always have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. At the same time, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be rewarded any.
The thing is, filing that claim is the only way for you to get coverage. It’s fortunate for you, then, that those who do ask for workers’ compensation usually have a great chance of getting it.
In fact, statistics back that up. In the single year of 2015, over $7 trillion in workers’ compensation was paid to employees in the United States. In other words, you’re not alone in expecting coverage for your medical bills.
If your physician ends up releasing you as fit to work, you have the right to get back to your job. Your employer can’t discriminate against your medical condition and take action to fire you. If you aren’t released by your physician, you could be entitled to disability payments, depending on the state you live in.
Perhaps you want to dispute the results of a workers’ compensation claim you’ve made. Well, you can, and you can hire a personal lawyer for the matter, too. As you’ll see, workers’ compensation is available to everyone, but it may not be easy for everyone to receive.
What if I Was Intoxicated During the Workplace Injury?
There are some obvious reasons why you might not get any coverage in the first place. For instance, you shouldn’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while at work in the first place. If you’re intoxicated while injured on the job, then, you won’t be entitled to any workers’ compensation.
For that reason, many employers request immediate drug tests to be recorded to determine sobriety. They have the legal right to do so, too. Once you pass the drug test within twenty-four hours, you’ll be able to continue the process of workers’ compensation.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
As mentioned above, different states will result in different amounts of coverage under workers’ compensation. It’s your responsibility, then, to do the research and understand your area’s coverage.
To start, workers’ compensation often covers medical bills. Of course, these medical bills have to be proven the result of a workplace-related injury. You might also be entitled to travel expenses going to and from those medical appointments.
Some employees are granted access to even more coverage, such as wages for time off the clock. This can be of particular advantage since employees may need extra time to recover.
Perhaps you do end up switching jobs after your workplace accident. You might want to avoid going back to a workplace environment where you’ve been put in danger.
That’s understandable, and you might be entitled to vocational rehabilitation compensation. That means the insurance company could pay for your training for a new job.
If you want more specific details about available coverage options, you’re in luck. Read more from this article about what is usually covered by workers’ compensation.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Dispute the Results of a Claim?
Perhaps you aren’t happy with the amount of workers’ compensation you’ve been awarded. Well, you still have a worthwhile option to pursue. You have the right to dispute any workers’ compensation claim you’ve filed.
Your best chance of winning that legal case is definitely with a reliable lawyer. He or she will know how to present your case with the top convincing factors.
In addition, your lawyer can also help you prepare for a deposition. A deposition is a recorded conversation between you and an attorney asking you about the related workplace accident. That’s why it can be so useful to have a qualified lawyer prepare you for what to expect.
Topics will include questions about your background information, events leading up to the accident, the resulting treatment, and your current physical state.
It’s essential that you take this deposition seriously. Stay calm, take your time, and speak clearly.
Talk with your lawyer about what you should or should not say. Having one on hand will go a long way in ensuring you have the highest chance of receiving the worker’s compensation coverage you deserve.
When Do I Have to Go Back to Work?
You might be tempted to go back to work as soon as you feel up to it again. If you want to preserve your chances of workers’ compensation coverage, though, you’ll wait for your doctor’s official release. His or her opinion could make the difference in whether your potential legal case has any foundation.
There are other people to consider talking to before going back to work. It’s obvious that you have to be in agreement with your employer, of course. In addition, though, you might want to talk to your lawyer if you’ve hired one.
The decision to go back to work after a workplace accident is a complicated one. For more detailed specifics, check out this article on when you have to return to work after a workplace injury.
Hire a Reliable Law Firm After a Workplace Injury
At this point in the article, you have a thorough understanding of what to do after a workplace injury. Of course, it’s important to prioritize your immediate physical well-being. Still, you’ll likely think about workers’ compensation at some point.
After all, you don’t want to cover the costs of your medical bills if you don’t have to. That’s why workers’ compensation laws exist in the first place.
It’s understandable if you still feel overwhelmed, though. There are a lot of ins and outs to navigate when it comes to workers’ compensation laws. It’s fortunate for you, then, that lawyers exist who specialize in that area.
As a matter of fact, that’s where we can come into play. We’re here to prioritize the rights and safety of our clients like you. We have a ton of reputable experience representing workers’ compensation cases.
That’s why we encourage you to browse through the rest of our website to see if we can help you. To start, check out more information about our workers’ compensation legal services here in Boston today. Then, rest easy while you heal from your workplace injury.