What To Do When You're Injured on the Job

Despite the best efforts to make a workplace safe, incidentally, injuries can happen. How you respond to these incidents can make a difference. Under worker’s compensation law, there are critical steps you must follow within set deadlines in order to validate your claim for worker’s compensation benefits.

First, obtain medical treatment if necessary. Once a work-related accident occurs, you are obligated to inform your employer about the injury and the way in which it occurred. However, if an injured worker fails to report the incident to the employer, in writing, within 30 days, this may jeopardize your right to receive worker’s compensation benefits.

Prior to filing a claim, it’s ideal to consult with a worker’s compensation attorney that has a proven record of successful recoveries. An initial consultation usually costs nothing and can help you determine the benefits you might be entitled to receive.

The First Report of Injury

Your employer should file a First Report of Injury within seven days of learning of the incident. If your employer does not complete this report, you should seek legal advice from a competent attorney. File a claim for workers' compensation to ensure the employer will take financial responsibility for medical treatment and lost wages.

Your employer has the right to choose a health care provider for the first ten days. After the initial ten days of treatment you may choose another doctor, however, the employer is entitled to a second opinion. Your employer should pay for medicine, treatment, and travel expenses to and from the health care provider. If your employer is disputing your claim for workers' compensation then submit your bills to your current health insurance . They must provide you with their benefits until your workers' compensation claim can be decided.

You are entitled to eighty percent of your after tax average weekly wage. Your employer must decide if they are going to dispute your claim within fourteen days. If they do not dispute your claim, weekly benefit payments must begin after the fourteen days are up. If they dispute your claim, be sure to discuss your case with an attorney. The length of time that your benefits will continue to be paid depends on the severity of the injury, whether or not you can return to work, and in what capacity you can complete all of your duties at work.

Your employer cannot discriminate against you after you have filed a workers' compensation claim. They must also give your job back if you are able to return to work. They can be required to give you a new job if your injury does not allow you to complete your previous job's duties, as well as, provide reasonable accommodations for your injury provided it does not cause undue hardship for the employer.

There are penalties that can be imposed for violations to the workers' compensation act. These penalties can be assessed on the employer or employee for not completing the appropriate forms and reports. Employers can also be penalized for making late payment of benefits. Legal consequences can also be imposed for willful violations, fraud, or intentional misrepresentation. As with any legal decision, it is wise to get the advice of an attorney that deals with workers' compensation laws.