Everyone should be able to do their work safely. Even if your job requires you to work in the vicinity of hazardous material or equipment, you should be given equipment, tools, and guidelines that will keep you from harm. Most employers understand this and take measures to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Other companies are not so rigorous, and this puts their people at risk.
If you have been injured on the job, you should make a claim for worker’s compensation. But before you do anything, you need to hire a lawyer. You want an attorney from a workers compensation law firm. They will have the knowledge and skill to get you through the process with as little trouble as possible.
You should not assume that your company and its insurer have your best interests at heart. No matter how friendly and kindly they may seem after the accident their priority is to minimize the impact of your accident on their bottom line.
When it comes down to it, you can only depend on yourself and your will to be fairly treated. Here are 5 simple ways to understand your legal rights when injured at work:
- You have a right to make a claim
Do not allow anyone to dissuade you from making a claim. Indeed, the very moment you are injured you should report it to your supervisor. You may also need to advise the human resources department of the incident. Different companies have different policies regarding this, so you should check your worker manual for the exact instructions.
Once you have alerted the company to your injury, you should hire a lawyer and file a claim for worker’s compensation. As mentioned above, the basis for this claim is straightforward. Every company is legally obligated to protect the health and safety of their employees. When they fail to live up to this expectation, they must be held accountable.
- You have a right to be properly compensated
If you are injured, you will need to go to the hospital for treatment. If your injury is severe enough, you may need to be hospitalized for some time. This will lead to a loss of wages and the addition of medical bills to your monthly expenses. Even after you are released from the hospital, you may need to go through a process of rehabilitation and spend more time at home recovering. Your injury may permanently degrade your ability to perform as you used to. This can force you into a lower paying position or mean that you cannot work as many hours as before.
You should not have to bear the stress and strain of such changes alone, especially when the accident was not your fault. The people whose job it was to protect you as you carried out your work must be held accountable.
- You have a right to fair treatment
Your employer cannot demote, harass, or otherwise mistreat you just because you make a claim against them. If you believe your employer is retaliating against you because you have made a claim, then you can sue them. Such a lawsuit can be made in addition to your worker’s comp claim. It is illegal for employers to engage in such behavior. They know it, and you should remind them of their obligations and responsibilities toward you with a lawsuit.
- You have a right to an attorney
Your employer may try to persuade you that the accident and the injury it caused can all be dealt with in-house; that you can trust them, their insurers, and their legal team to sort it all out and compensate you fairly. Don’t believe it. Your company will put its own interests first. You must retain counsel that will do the same for you.
A lawyer who specializes in worker’s compensation cases can be useful in many ways. First, they can ensure that you complete the forms for the claim properly. The paperwork is not always straightforward, and a great many worker’s compensation claims are rejected owing to an administrative error on the part of the claimant. A worker’s comp lawyer will ensure that the application you submit is flawless. They can also anticipate any possible objections made by the company’s insurer and be at hand to respond to them.
You also want a lawyer present for the accident investigation. The main aim of insurance companies is to minimize the amount of money they have to pay to claimants. To this end, they maintain an army of claims investigators who will look for ways to get the insurance company off the hook. Your lawyer will be able to bring in their own investigative team. They will be able to review the evidence and conclusion of the company’s insurers so as to verify the validity of their results. This will all be done to make sure you get the money you deserve.
- You have a right to your own doctor
The company will want you to be looked at by their doctor. You should accede to this request. Otherwise, they will say that you are not really injured and deny your claim. However, you have a right to be examined by your own doctor. In fact, you should go to your medical provider first. Their initial findings on the nature and severity of your injury will be crucial to your claim for worker’s compensation. You should tell your doctor that you were injured at work and describe to them your actions and movements before the accident.
These are 5 basic rights you have as an injured worker. You should not allow anyone to limit them or persuade you to abandon them at any point. Your injury could put you in dire financial straits; it could also have a tremendous effect on your ability to earn a living. Your employer must be made to carry out their responsibilities toward you; they must be held accountable for the accident and all that follows from it.
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