By Joanne Reed
Disclaimer: The information discussed below details some of the things that you have to consider from a legal standpoint if you have a personal injury at work. For more information about how you can either successfully claim your workers’ compensation benefits or file a lawsuit against your employer if need be after being involved in a work-related accident, you should contact a licensed personal injury lawyer as soon as you can.
Your employer might have been ensuring that you’re safe from harm during your working hours by having a zero accident policy in place. But even with a policy like that, work-related accidents can still happen. Depending on the severity of the physical injuries that you sustained as a result of a work-related accident that you got involved in, you might incur medical bills that you can barely pay after you haven’t received any wages for the entire time of your hospitalization and subsequent recovery. You would, therefore, want to take note of some of the things that you have to consider if you have a personal injury at work:
Your employer is required to provide you with workers’ compensation benefits, but it depends on where you’re currently working, how many employees are there, and what the nature of your work is.
Any employer’s worst fear is receiving a lawsuit from anyone among their employees who got caught in a work-related accident.
Thus, like any law-abiding employer, yours might have given you your workers’ compensation benefits which you can use should anything untoward happen to you while on the job.
However, there are certain situations wherein you might not get any workers’ compensation benefits.
If you’re currently working in the state of Texas and you had a work-related accident there, your employer might not give you any workers’ compensation benefits as it’s not compulsory for them to do so.
Your employer might also not give you any workers’ compensation benefits if there are only less than five people in your workplace.
Some types of work also aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Thus, you should check first the workers’ compensation laws of the state where you’re currently working so that all your efforts wouldn’t go to waste.
In case you got yourself in a work-related accident, you should see a doctor right away, though who gets to choose the doctor who would take a look at your injuries depends on the compensation laws of the state where you’re currently working.
Regardless of the severity of the injuries that you received as a result of your work-related accident, the very first thing that you should do is to seek immediate medical attention.
You can choose a doctor to treat your injuries in some states. But in the state of California, it only applies if you’ve already been seeing a doctor before you became involved in a work-related accident.
In other states, your employer would either assign a doctor for you or ask you to choose from a roster of doctors in a health maintenance organization’s tight-knit network.
Some states allow you as well to switch from your employer-designated doctor to your chosen one. However, you should notify either your employer or their insurance provider about it so that you don’t have to pay your medical bills out of your pocket.
Other states though don’t allow you to switch to a doctor that you chose for yourself which means that you’re unfortunately stuck with the doctor that your employer assigned to you.
Another thing that you should do in case you become involved in a work-related accident is to report any injuries that you’ve received because of it to your employer.
Your employer has the right to know that you’ve gotten yourself in a work-related accident. Thus, instead of keeping it to yourself, you should tell your employer that you’ve had it happen to you and make them fill out a First Report of Injury form on your behalf
You would have to double-check the First Report of Injury form that your employer filled out for you in case they omitted some essential details surrounding your work-related accident.
You should also have your employer provide you with your copy of the accomplished First Report of Injury form for your safekeeping.
In case your employer has deprived you of your workers’ compensation benefits, you can file a civil lawsuit against them.
Your employer giving you your rightful workers’ compensation benefits doesn’t mean that they’re automatically immune from lawsuits. In fact, you can file a civil lawsuit against your employer for any of the following situations:
Your employer had full knowledge that a piece of equipment or machinery in your workplace can cause anyone who operates it to get significantly injured.
Your employer intentionally didn’t provide you any workers’ compensation benefits despite being in a state other than Texas, having five employees or more, or your line of work is in the list of those eligible to be rightfully compensated in case of a work-related accident.
Even if your workplace has had a consistent track record of very little to no work-related accidents at all, the sad reality is that you can still become involved in one when you least expect it. In case you’ve had a work-related accident happen to you, you can file a claim for your workers’ compensation benefits to your employer’s insurance company so that they can shoulder both your medical bills and lost wages. But if you suddenly encounter a problem with your workers’ compensation claim, you can click here for more information. This is because you may want to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to help you file a lawsuit against your employer if ever it would get to that level.
Joanne Reed has been writing about law and business for almost a decade, and is currently writing her next big law project. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.