On a routine day at work, John slipped and fell in a puddle of water on the break room floor. He fractured a bone in his leg and was taken to the hospital for treatment. However, John had to miss work for a few weeks so he could heal properly. He felt stressed and wasn’t sure how he would pay for his medical bills or cover his regular expenses-especially since he would lose wages while he recovered.
As John spoke to a family member about his situation, he discovered that since he was injured on the job, he could file for workers’ compensation. But he didn’t know much about this benefit type or what it could do for him.
If you, like John, were injured at work and can relate to the situation discussed above, or if you would like to know more about workers’ compensation, read on. In this blog, we discuss what workers’ compensation is. We even provide further explanation about how filing a claim can help you as you recover from an injury you sustained in the workplace.
What Workers’ Compensation Is
Simply put, workers’ compensation is a benefit that all individuals are entitled to should they become injured in the workplace or while on duty. The law requires employers to pay for certain expenses (which we discuss more in-depth in the next section) if their employees become injured in a work-related accident.
Additionally, workers’ compensation covers injuries that occur from related exposure in the workplace. For example, if you sit at a desk and type on a computer all day, you could sustain a wrist injury from this repetitive motion. As a result, you could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
You can sustain workplace injuries in the following ways as well:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Machinery accidents
- Workplace violence
- Improper training
Additionally, you can file a claim if you were struck by or against an object. For example, if a rickety shelf collapses and a box falls on you and causes an injury, you can file a workers’ comp claim.
What Workers’ Comp Covers
Because another person’s negligence, unsafe work conditions, or other similar factors caused you to become injured, the law requires your employer to pay for any related financial costs. After all, you didn’t cause the accident that resulted in your injury, so you shouldn’t have to pay for any associated expenses.
- Workers’ compensation covers several kinds of expenses related to your accident and injury, including:
- Medical costs, both to treat the injury and for future treatment (if future treatment is necessary) Costs for retraining
- Vocational rehabilitation (if you need to find a different form of employment) Lost wages
- Temporary or permanent disability costs
Workers’ comp also provides benefits for any of your dependents who have been affected by your injury. In the rare circumstance that a work accident causes a death, workers’ compensation provides the victim’s spouse, children, and other dependents with these benefits.
Note, however, that workers’ compensation does not provide you with additional benefits for pain and suffering. Any compensation you receive from filing a claim covers the costs already associated with your injury.
What You Should Do If You Get Injured
If you do sustain an injury, take the following steps:
- Report the injury immediately to your manager, supervisor, or department head. If you are too seriously injured or another factor prevents you from reporting the incident right away, make sure to report it within 30 days. If you wait any longer, you may lose your right to receive benefits.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of your injury, you or another employee should contact emergency services or another medical expert. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan, and make sure to keep any future treatments or follow-up appointments.
- Ask your employer for a claim form, and give him or her the completed form. Note that your employer should provide you with a blank form within one work day after the accident occurred. If you didn’t receive a form from your employer, print and fill out your own copy.
- Seek legal assistance as you file your claim. An attorney can ensure that all the proper paperwork is completed and that you have supporting evidence (like witness statements, medical records and test results, and photographs) to validate your claim.
When you become injured while at work or on duty, you’ll need to file a claim before you can receive compensation for your injuries.
If another person’s negligence or unsafe work conditions caused you to sustain an injury, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. To file a claim and begin this process, get in touch with a workers’ compensation attorney near you.
These professionals can walk you through the entire process, defend your right to receive just compensation for your injuries, and even help you file an appeal if necessary.
For more information about how a lawyer can assist you as you file a personal injury claim, read through our other blog posts.