It is a requirement for every employer to provide their workers with a healthy and relatively safe work environment. Sometimes, employers fail to do this obligation resulting in accidents at work. In some cases, though, even when the employers have done their best to ensure safety in the workplace, accidents can still happen, resulting in injured employees. Slipping and tripping that lead to falls account for 20% to 40% of occupational injuries leading to a worker’s disability.
If you are an employee suffering from broken bones, occupational illnesses, or even psychological injuries due to an accident that happened in your workplace, you have the right to claim compensation.
Know Your Rights
Compensation laws vary in every state. The following, though, are common rights of employees in most states:
- You have the right to seek medication from a licensed doctor.
- You have the right to return to your job if your doctor says you are fit to go back to work.
- You have the right to seek compensation and file a claim in a state industrial court or workers compensation court for the injury you have incurred in the workplace.
- If it is impossible for you to return to work temporarily or permanently because of the injury or illness that you have incurred in the workplace, you have the right to claim disability compensation.
- If your employer, employer’s insurance company, or the workers’ compensation court has come up with a decision, and you do not agree to it, you have the right to appeal to that decision.
- You have the right to refuse offers from your employer that attempt to convince you not to file a compensation claim against them.
- You have the right to get assistance from a civil litigation lawyer to represent and assist you throughout the entire process of claiming compensation.
Any form of harassment you get from your employer after you exercise your rights is punishable by law. You should be able to file claims for compensation without fear of harassment from your employer.
How to File for Compensation
Step 1. Report the Injury
The first thing you should do is to report the injury to the employer. There are cases where employers and their insurance companies would deny claims because the injury has not been reported immediately. The report should include details, such as when and where the accident occurred, who the witnesses were or who was around when the accident happened, what you were doing when the accident happened, and what happened during the accident.
Step 2. Seek Medical Assistance
Make sure to inform the physician that the injury is work-related. The doctor should record the information in your medical notes. The medical practitioner should also give you a medical report or certificate detailing the extent of the injury. You will need this document when filing for a compensation claim.
Step 3. Ask Your Employer for the Necessary Documents
Your employer should give you reporting forms to fill up so that claims can be filed with the insurance company. Depending on the laws governing your state, you may also be asked to fill up reporting forms, which will be submitted to the worker’s compensation board. The employer will also inform you about your rights as an employee and give you information about your compensation benefits. Your employer may also discuss with you your probability of going back to work.
Step 4. Have Your Employer File Your Claim
It is usually the employer’s responsibility to submit your documents to the insurance provider or the state workers’ compensation board. This step applies to all occupational injuries, even if the worker is not seeking compensation benefits.
Step 5. Wait for Approval from the Insurer
The insurance provider will make the final say on whether to approve or reject your claim. If approved, the insurance company will contact your employer and send the payment details. If the insurer feels that your claim does not qualify for compensation benefits, they may reject your claim.
In case of a rejection, you can ask the insurance provider to review their decision. If they insist, you can appeal and ask for legal representation from a lawyer.
If your claim is approved, you may accept the offer or negotiate for a larger structured settlement.
When you have recovered from the injury, you can inform the employer and the insurer via writing that you are ready to return to work.
All the steps in filing for a worker’s compensation claim require the expertise of a licensed attorney. Know which attorney is right for you so you can be sure to get positive results when you make your claims.