Employers are expected to take good care of all their employees by ensuring the occupational safety and security of the workplace to avoid any work-related injury. All companies must provide a safe and sound work environment to their employees. Failure to do so may lead to the occurrence of severe workplace injuries and accidents.
Every state has a program that assists workers who are affected by work-related injuries. Personal injuries on the job can happen anytime and anywhere. Therefore, both employers and employees need to be prepared for any unforeseen event that can cause a work injury or work-related accident.
Accidents in the workplace include slip and fall, car accidents, defective equipment, asbestos exposure, construction accidents, or any negligence that happened while at work. These negligent acts can lead to serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, amputation, aggravation of pre-existing illnesses or medical conditions, and other injuries on the job.
This article covers the important things that you need to know as an employee during an occurrence of workplace injury. Here are some of the questions that you might have in mind:
- What are my legal rights as an injured worker?
- How can I protect my rights?
- What are my rights if my injury was caused by a third party?
- What is the role of a personal injury lawyer?
What are my legal rights as an injured worker?
Worker’s compensation laws differ in every state. However, most of the states implement some common laws that include the following:
- The right to pursue and file a personal injury claim in worker’s compensation court
- The right to consult a medical provider to seek medical treatment
- The right to return to work once your doctor gives you a medical clearance
- The right to receive compensation benefits in case you are unable to work due to a personal injury or temporary disability
- The right to appeal to a decision made by your employer, employer’s insurance carrier, or the worker’s compensation court
- The right to have a lawyer for legal representation during the process
Aside from knowing your legal rights to act, you also need to be aware of your rights to refuse unlawful offers or requests. For instance, learn to say “no” if your employer wants you to use your health insurance policy to cover your medical bills. It is your right to refuse if your employer offers you an “incentive” to convince you against filing a worker’s compensation claim. You are entitled to pursue a claim without the fear of harassment or reprisal from your employer. If the actions of your employer are unjust, it is advisable to seek legal help from an experienced Louisville personal injury attorney to avoid any illegal actions to be taken against you.
How can I protect my rights?
When you are injured at work, the first thing that you need to do is to immediately report your injury to your employer, if possible, within the same day of the accident. Failure to report will make you ineligible to receive any worker’s compensation benefits. The next step would be filing a worker’s compensation claim with the court in your respective state. You are required to notify your employer, your employer’s insurance company, and the court regarding your claim. Once it is filed, there are certain default and automatic protections that will be put in place.
What are my rights if my injury was caused by a third party?
There are times when your injury might be caused by the negligent act of a third party. If your workplace injury is caused by a manufacturer or designer of equipment, a delivery van driver, or any other party other than your employer, then you are eligible to file a “third party claim”. This type of claim is often in the form of a civil lawsuit and it is usually filed in the state courts.
Civil lawsuits for workplace injuries usually require supplementary injury damages that can’t be recovered in a worker’s compensation claim. For instance, the worker’s compensation benefits that you receive from your claim are intended for the reimbursement of your lost wages and medical expenses, but not to compensate for pain and suffering. If you’ll file a third-party claim, you are entitled to request compensation for non-economic damages.
What is the role of a personal injury lawyer?
Getting hurt at work can cause you severe injuries that will affect your career and lifestyle. Unexpected work accidents can be quite overwhelming. If this happens to you, it is best to hire a personal injury lawyer that will ensure that your complaint and claim will not be taken for granted, and you will get compensation for all injuries that you’ve endured.
For legal help in filing workplace injury claims, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with our competent Louisville personal injury attorneys at Farmer & Wright PLLC. Our lawyers will assist you throughout the application and negotiation process until you receive your worker’s compensation benefits.