What Are Your Rights if You Get Injured at Work?
In 2019 alone, there were 2.8 million non-fatal injuries in the private industry. Getting injured can be one of the worst experiences of your life. It could mean piling medical bills, lost wages, and possibly permanent injuries or disability.
The question is, what are your rights if you get injured at work? When you get injured on the job, you’re entitled to compensation and so much more. The most crucial thing you must do is act fast to protect your right as an injured employee, which will ensure you get all the benefits you’re entitled to.
These benefits will ease your financial and physical burden, so it’s vital that you get them. Here is a list of your rights if you’re hurt at work.
The Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation is state-mandated benefits provided to compensate employees that sustain injuries on the job. Workers’ compensation will allow you to collect money from the government if the injuries are preventing you from working. You’re entitled to medical benefits depending on your injuries and a portion of your last salary.
In most cases, lost wages are paid two-thirds of the weekly wage. In some states, receiving the workers’ compensation benefits means that you may have to relinquish your rights to sue the company for negligence. However, you only give up your right to sue your employer or your coworker but are free to sue any other negligent involved parties.
One of the biggest problems that injured employees face is that workers’ compensation insurance companies can at times make it very difficult for them to receive the compensation. In such cases, it becomes essential for the injured employee to have a reliable and professional workers’ compensation lawyer. They will fight for their rights and get them the compensation they deserve.
Right to Sue Your Employer
What are your rights if you get injured at work, and failed to receive your workers’ compensation benefits? After you’re hurt at work, you have every right to sue your employer as long as you sue within the stipulated statute of limitation.
Your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company may give you a hard time in giving you the benefits you’re entitled to. Still, as long as you were injured on the job, you should hire a professional workers compensation attorney to fight for your rights.
The Right to Send a Complaint to OSHA
In many cases, workplace injuries happen due to poor working conditions, unobserved safety measures, poorly-managed protocols, and safety mishaps. As an injured employee, it is within your right to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when you notice that hazards were present and could cause other potential injuries to other employees.
The Right to Collect Social Security Disability Benefits
Your injuries may have been too severe or resorted to permanent injuries or disability. As a result, you may no longer be able to work or perform your daily activities on your own.
It could also, at the very least, limit the type of work you can do as an individual. In this case, you will need to seek social security disability benefits that are provided by the Federal Government.
Before getting these benefits and collect compensation, it will be vital for you to meet all the regulations. You must have a mental or physical impairment that will be preventing you from obtaining substantial work. Your disability will also have to have lasted about 12 months or would be expected to last at least that duration.
How to Get Compensation: Sending a Notice to Your Employer
As an injured employee, the law requires that you give your employer notice for your workers’ compensation claim 120 days after sustaining the injuries. Failure to do this means that you will lose your chances of filing the claim completely. If you send the notice within 21 days after the accident, you start to receive the benefits from the first day out of work.
All injured employees need to be out of work for at least seven days so they can receive any workers’ compensation benefits. After seven days are over, you become eligible to receive the benefits straight away. If you sent the notice after 21 days, but within the 120 days, you will only receive the benefits from the date you sent the notice.
Following the Statute of Limitations
After the deadline for entering the employee notice, you must also observe the statute of limitations stipulated in your states. All injured employees have a maximum of three years to file a petition to receive the workers’ compensation benefits.
If the workers’ compensation insurance company does not issue the legal documents accepting the claim within three years after the accident, an injured worker will be unable to receive any benefits.
The thing is, a workers’ compensation insurance company could pay your medical bills for a given period of time and still not accept the claim. A lot of companies have previously paid for medical bills and still denied the claim. Even if they contact you, interview you, communicate with you, or gives you a claimant number, it’s still doesn’t prove that they have accepted your claim.
For this reason alone, it’s incredibly vital that you hire a workers’ compensation attorney. They will adequately check that your claim has been accepted by the company.
You should receive a legal document that says “Notice of Compensation Payable.” It’s also known as a “Supplemental Agreement” or an “Agreement of Compensation.”
Avoid Signing Documents With the Insurance Company
If there’s one thing you need to understand about insurance adjusters and insurance companies is that they will do everything to avoid paying claims. This means that they may get you to sign documents in exchange for the benefits.
If you sign documents you don’t understand, they may do you more harm than good. They may also tell you that you must be treated by certain doctors.
According to the law, your employer must offer you a list of at least six doctors from different hospitals to choose from. You can get treatment from one or more of them for the first 90 days of the work accident.
If your employer doesn’t have such a list, then you are entitled to go to any hospital of your choice. You should still be entitled to receive the workers’ compensation benefits.
Can You Work Without an Attorney?
Working without an attorney is possible but not advisable. The best course of action is to work with a lawyer that specializes in workers’ compensation law and not in any other field. A lot of people make the mistake of hiring the first lawyer they come across and they lose out on a large portion of their compensation because the lawyer did not know all the laws and the rights of the injured employee.
Most employees also think that the insurance company and the employer are looking out for them and protecting their rights. However, the insurance company will always look after its own interests, and so will the employer.
The insurance company is bound to have professional attorneys of its own that may try to cheat you out of your own compensation. For this reason, it’s advisable to have your own legal representative to maximize the chances of getting maximum compensation.
How Much Will a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Cost?
While you’re facing injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, it’s only right that you’re worried about how you can afford a lawyer at this time. Is it within your right to receive a lawyer from the government? One of the best things about hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is that they will receive a percentage of your wage benefits. This will only happen if they successfully defend you in court.
It’s a lot better to receive a full amount of your compensation and pay a percentage of it to your attorney than to receive nothing at all, which might be the case if you represent yourself.
What Kind of Compensation Could You Get?
The workers’ compensation insurance company may offer you a lump sum of money as a settlement. This way, they can stop paying continual compensation benefits. In other cases, they may prefer to pay the benefits on a continual basis, based on the agreement.
It could be on a weekly or monthly basis where you receive a given amount of money for your medical bills and expenses. Some people prefer to receive the lump sum settlement because it can help them get through the injuries a lot faster. It also becomes easier to transition to a different career if the injuries become permanent.
If you get the lump sum but sustain permanent injuries, you’ll still receive their Social Security benefits or different health insurance benefits. This will compensate for the ongoing medical benefits you would have received.
What Are Your Rights if You Get Injured at Work? Understanding Your Rights
So, what are your rights if you get injured at work? These are all the rights you’re entitled to when you’re hurt at work. Having a professional workers’ compensation attorney will go a long way in helping you get full compensation.
Would you like to read other informative posts? Check out our other articles.