Workplace injuries are common nationwide, affecting nearly 3 million workers every year. From minor scrapes and sprains to broken bones and worse, these workplace injuries can vary in intensity.
No matter how serious your injury, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation, benefits that can help when you’re wounded on the job. It’s important to understand your rights when pursuing a worker’s compensation claim, and the expert legal team at Werner, Hoffman & Greig is here to help.
The Basics of Workers’ Compensation
Worker’s compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides financial benefits or medical care to employees who are injured as a direct result of their job. The purpose of worker’s compensation is to make sure that injured workers have access to medical care and lost wages.
Employers are required to carry this insurance and are not allowed to push any of the costs off onto their workers.
To be eligible for worker’s compensation, a worker must suffer from a job-related illness or injury.
One key detail: you’re eligible for worker’s compensation whether you were technically at fault or not. As long as you were injured while performing your job duties, and the injury was caused by the conditions of your employment, you’re eligible.
One major exception is intoxication. If you were injured while drunk or intoxicated on other drugs, worker’s compensation won’t cover your bills.
Common Workplace Injuries Eligible for Compensation
1. Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries or RSIs are commonplace across many different professions, even office work. These injuries are caused by performing the same movement over and over again.
Examples include carpal tunnel, bursitis, and tendonitis.
2. Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls can be caused by unstable or slippery surfaces, poor lighting, or clutter. Head injuries and broken bones are common symptoms.
3. Machinery and Equipment Accidents
Many important jobs involve working with powerful machinery and heavy equipment that are capable of exerting tremendous force. Even the vibrations from machinery can cause health problems over time.
Many kinds of devastating injuries are possible, from broken bones to amputations to spinal cord injuries.
4. Exposure to Harmful Substances or Environments
People who work with or around harsh chemicals, fumes, and radiation run the risk of health issues like respiratory problems, burns, or even cancer.
5. Overertion and Lifting Injuries
Lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, or carrying heavy objects can often result in overexertion and lifting injuries. Muscle sprains, strains, and hernias are often the result.
Navigating the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
The worker’s compensation process, like any encounter with the legal system, can be complex and confusing. It’s important to carefully follow the procedures laid out in your local worker’s compensation laws, which can vary from state to state.
In general, the process should look like this:
- Report your injury or illness to your employer–these records can be helpful later.
- Seed medical attention immediately.
- File a worker’s compensation claim with your state’s worker’s compensation agency.
- Keep detailed records of your medical expenses and lost wages.
- Be prepared to appear in court before a worker’s compensation judge, if necessary.
When to Seek Legal Help
It’s always a good idea to work with a qualified workplace injury attorney, even if you may not think you need it. Even if everything goes according to plan, a good lawyer can make navigating the legal system a much less stressful process.
A worker’s compensation lawyer can handle complicated paperwork quickly and accurately, making sure you’re not missing any details that can hinder your case. We can negotiate on your behalf with uncooperative insurance companies.
If your claim can’t be resolved out-of-court, a worker’s compensation lawyer can represent you in front of the judge, presenting your evidence and your case in the best possible light.
Contact WHG to Speak with a Top-Rated Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t wait for your employer or their insurance company to make the first move. Contact Werner, Hoffman & Greig and make sure your rights are defended every step of the way.
Our passionate team of lawyers has the experience and skills necessary to secure the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury.
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FAQ about Workplace Injuries
What should I do if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
If your claim is denied, don’t panic. Insurance companies often deny claims that are later upheld in court. You have the right to file an appeal, and working with an attorney can give you the best chances of success.
Can I receive compensation for a workplace injury if I am at fault?
In most cases, yes, you can receive compensation for a workplace injury even if you were at fault since your activity at work is performed on your employer’s behalf. There are a few exceptions, such as drug or alcohol use or intentional injury.
How long do I have to report a workplace injury for compensation?
The specific rules vary from state to state, but you’re often required to report a workplace injury to your employer within a month of sustaining the injury. Otherwise, your claim may be denied due to late notice.