Your employer may have been doing what they can to keep you safe from any harm while you’re on the job by implementing zero accident measures. Unfortunately, work-related accidents can still happen even when you least expect them.
To make it worse, sustaining massive physical injuries from a work-related accident can result in soaring medical bills and loss of your wages. Thus, you should remember some key legal things when you have sustained a personal injury at work:
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Most often than not, your employer is required to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits if you are involved in a work-related accident.
No employer ever wants to deal with a lawsuit from you after you’ve gotten yourself injured in a work-related accident unless there’s a valid reason for you to sue them. Thus, your employer has most likely given you workers’ compensation benefits, which you’ll then have to claim.
However, there may be instances in which you can’t get any workers’ compensation benefits at all.For example, if your job is in the state of Texas, and your work-related accident happened there, it’s completely legal for your employer not to provide you with any workers’ compensation benefits. Or, if you’re currently working for a business with only less than five people in it, your employer also isn’t required to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits.
The nature of your work can also affect the workers’ compensation claim that you’ll be filing. Thus, you should check your state’s workers’ compensation laws so you’ll know if you’re eligible to make a claim or not.
See a Doctor Immediately
You should have yourself checked by a doctor after getting involved in a work-related accident, though who exactly should take a look at your conditionwill depend on your state’s workers’ compensation laws.
Whether the injuries that you sustained were only minor scrapes or life-changing physical disabilities, your first response in case of a work-related accident should always be to seek immediate medical attention.
Some states allow you to have your work-related injuries treated by a doctor of your choosing. However, if your work is in the state of California, you can choose your doctor only if you already had one even before your work-related accident.Other states allow you to have your work-related injuries taken care of but only by a doctor that your employer chooses for you either on their own or by supplying you with a list of doctors within a health maintenance organization or HMO network.
The amount of time that you have to spend with a doctor that your employer chose for you again depends on the state where you’re currently employed.Some states are fine with you seeing your employer-chosen doctor only once during the initial visit, after which you can choose another doctor who you think may treat your injuries better.
But in other states, only the employer has the right to choose the doctor who’ll treat your injuries, and you’re not allowed to switch to another doctor at all.
In case you want to switch to another doctor and the state where you’re working allows you to do so, you should promptly notify your employer or their insurance company, as failure to do so can cause them to refuse to pay related medical bills.
Report Your Work-Related Injuries Immediately
You should report any injuries you’ve sustained as a result of your work-related accident to your employer. Always tell your employer about your work-related injuries and make them complete a First Report of Injury form.To be sure that your employer wrote about the extent of your work-related injuries, you should double-check the “First Report of Injury” form that they’ve filled out for you.Once done, you should have your employer furnish you with a personal copy of the filled out form for your personal records.
Consider a Civil Lawsuit for Compensation
If your employer doesn’t provide you with workers’ compensation benefits at all, you can file a civil lawsuit against them instead. Most employers want to work with their injured employees in order to prevent undergoing long and costly trials that could potentially ruin their business. You have the option of filing a civil lawsuit against your employer for your work-related accident especially in the following instances:
- Your employer allowed your work-related accident to happen with full knowledge that you would get injured from it
- Your employer didn’t provide you with workers’ compensation benefits despite not being in the state of Texas
No matter how safe your workplace is, the unfortunate reality is that you can still get dragged into a work-related accident anytime, especially if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you’ve had one happen to you, you should claim your workers’ compensation benefits, wherein your employer’s insurance company shoulders both your medical costs and lost wages.
In case you encounter any problems with workers’ compensation benefits, you should seek the services of a personal injury lawyer who can help you file a lawsuit against your employer should the need for it arise.
April Sears has been a law writer for more than two decades, and she is currently working on her next piece. She also writes pieces on law topics for the common reader. April is family woman, and she loves spending her free time with her family.