While employers in all states must ensure a safe workplace, work-related injuries are still a reality. These injuries can range from fractures to occupational illnesses and repetitive stress injuries, despite an employer’s best efforts to maintain a safe work environment. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, it’s essential to understand your rights as an employee and the benefits that may be available to you.
Knowing how to claim benefits and what you are entitled to can significantly affect your recovery and financial stability. Working with a qualified attorney, like those at welch smith – NPS Law, can help you navigate the legal system and get the full rightful claim you deserve.
In this article, we will delve into the options available to you and guide you through the process of claiming benefits, so you can focus on your recovery and get back to work with peace of mind.
I’ve Been Injured at Work, What Next?
If you sustain an injury, regardless of where it happens, prioritizing your health and receiving appropriate medical care is crucial – especially if your injuries are severe. Whether it’s a workplace injury or a car accident, seeking medical attention should be the first step. While it’s important to remember that some states impose strict deadlines for informing their employer about the incident, the injured person’s well-being and health always take priority.
The next crucial step in safeguarding your rights after seeking medical attention is promptly reporting the injury to your employer. In most states, there are specific timeframes for reporting the injury, usually on the same day or within a few days of the incident. In New York, for instance, you must inform your employer of the injury within 30 days and file a claim within two years. Reporting the injury immediately is important to ensure you meet the deadline and protect your rights. The sooner you report the injury, the better your chances of receiving the benefits and compensation you deserve.
After reporting your injury to your employer, the subsequent step to safeguard your rights is to file a workers’ compensation claim with the appropriate court in your state, whether the workers’ compensation court or the industrial court. This process notifies your employer, their insurance company, and the court formally about your injury. By doing so, you are initiating the legal process necessary to receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Understanding Your Rights After a Workplace Injury
Although workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, there are several universal rights that most injured workers can expect to have. If you have sustained an injury at work, and your job is covered by workers’ compensation laws in your state, you are entitled to certain rights regardless of where you live. Some of these rights include:
- The right to receive medical treatment for your work-related injuries.
- The right to return to work if your doctor approves it.
- The right to disability compensation if you can’t return to work due to the injury.
- The right to file a claim on your injury in the state’s industrial or workers’ compensation court.
- The right to a hearing before your state’s workers’ compensation court or its equivalent.
- You have the right to take time off work to recover from your injuries.
- You have the right to ask for lighter duties if your doctor advises against heavy physical labor or other tasks that could worsen your condition.
- The right to receive all the benefits you are entitled to under workers’ compensation laws.
- The right to appeal any denials of your workers’ compensation claim.
- The right to legal representation from a workers’ compensation lawyer throughout the entire process, starting from the moment of your injury.
Being injured at work does not automatically entitle you to claim personal injury compensation, as it is necessary to prove that your employer was at fault. Although each injury has its own individual factors, it is crucial to seek appropriate guidance to determine if you have a valid claim. Nevertheless, some fundamental guidelines can assist you in evaluating the strength of your claim. They include aspects such as whether you had received adequate training and induction, if your employer lets you work with defective equipment, and whether or not you were provided with and advised on what personal protective equipment (PPE) to use to make your job safe.
If you believe you may have a valid legal claim after a workplace injury, speaking with an attorney to explore your options and determine whether to file a workers’ comp or take legal action is highly recommended. Consulting with a workers’ compensation or personal injury lawyer can help you understand the best course of action for your situation.