Workplace injuries are extremely common. In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracked almost three million individuals who were injured while working. Of those, over half resulted in time off work, new restrictions being put forth in the workplace or people transferring to new jobs.
That is why workers’ compensation was invented. This system helps employees get the compensation they deserve for injuries they suffered in the workplace. Generally, every workplace should offer workers’ comp, and if an employer doesn’t, then you might even consider that lack of compensation to be a red flag.
How Does Workers’ Comp Work?
An employer is required by law to pay for an employee’s workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured in the workplace. This injury could come in the form of a freak accident, such as when there is a chemical spill in the workplace. But it could also be caused from a repeated motion, exposure or strain that you incur while working. A good example of this would be hearing loss suffered by a construction worker due to the noise-level of the workplace.
Generally, Workers’ comp entitles you to five benefits:
- Your medical care.
- Payments to help cover lost wages while recovering.
- Payments to help cover lost wages in the case that you never recover.
- Vouchers that can be used to help pay to learn new skills or retraining that can be used to seek new employment.
- Payments to your family in the event that you pass away from a job-related injury or sickness.
How Do You File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
There are a number of steps involved in filing a workers’ compensation claim that either should or must be followed if you want to have any success with your claim. It may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through but it’s not so bad when you take it one step at a time.
- Inform your employer of your injury in writing or in speech as soon as possible: It is important that your workplace understand that you have been injured. At this point, you are simply letting them know that an injury happened but it also helps in making the dates of the events clearer when looking back later on in the process.
- See a doctor: At this point it is important to see a doctor. While you can see your doctor, you must make sure to visit whatever doctor your workplace directs you to. In some cases this could mean having to travel a little ways. Depending on the circumstances of the visit, you could be entitled to some form of reimbursement.
- Describe the injury to your doctor: It is important for the doctor to know that the injury occured at work. Answer all the doctor’s questions and let them know who you work for. If you don’t inform the doctor about the workplace injury aspect of the visit then they won’t know to record the treatment as a workers’ comp expense.
- Report the injury to the employer in writing: Even if your employer has already been informed, sit down and write a letter that describes everything that happened. Include as much information as possible, especially date and time. Generally, it’s better to have too much information than too little.
- Do what the doctor says: Listen to the doctors and follow their instructions as best as you can. The doctor’s goal is to help you get back into the workplace as quickly as possible, therefore if you fail to follow their directions it could potentially put your claim at risk.
- File your claim: Your employer is required to get you a workers’ comp claim form. If they fail to do so, you can find them online.
- Complete any additional paperwork: Typically, there will be more paperwork than expected. A lot of different factors can affect how much paperwork you fill out for your claim. Make sure to complete all additional paperwork and keep copies of everything you fill out for safekeeping.
How Long Does Workers’ Comp Last?
Generally, your workers’ comp should last until you are able to return to work. This could be quite quick or quite a long time depending on how bad your injuries are and how they affect your ability to work.
Returning to work doesn’t always mean returning to the workplace where you got injured. Some injuries will absolutely restrict your ability to work within a certain field. For example, physical labor such as construction work is typically outside of the range of somebody that suffered a dismembered limb.
When it comes to returning to work, it might be that you need to undergo training to transfer into a new field. Or there could be other positions open at the company you worked in which you could be trained for. There’s always office work to be found in a construction company, for example.
Is There a Way to Get Help Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Getting injured at work is never a fun experience and the stress that comes with balancing your cost of living against your recovery can be incredibly tough to deal with. Getting workers’ compensation allows you to set your mind at ease long enough to focus on healing. It’s only right that you be compensated for what happened to you while working for your employer.
But for those facing a traumatic injury, it can seem impossible to file a workers’ comp claim on your own. That’s why law firms like the Accident Network Law Group exist. We make it our purpose to help you get the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered in the workplace. If you need help filing a workers’ comp claim then please give us a call at (951) 554-1010. We’ll help take care of the legal side of things so you can focus on getting back on your feet and back to work.