The average employee doesn’t know all of his or her workers’ rights, often because there are so many of them. Some of these rights are mandated by the company you work for, while others are put in place by the state and federal governments. If you suffer an injury or contract an illness because of your job, however, you want to make sure that your workers’ rights are enforced and protected at every step.
If you’re unsure what to do after a work-related injury, you don’t have to worry: we’ve outlined the steps you can take to ensure that your rights are protected at all times, and what you need to know in terms of the timelines for workers’ compensation settlements.
- Report the incident immediately. If you get hurt at work, you must tell your supervisor immediately, regardless of the circumstances. If you were hurt while performing duties off-site, call your supervisor to report it. If you are unable to report an injury physically because of your injury, make sure that someone else, such as a medical provider, can do so for you.
- Go see a doctor. After you inform your supervisor of your injury, make a doctor’s appointment. Many workers compensation settlements take longer to reach because employees don’t seek proper medical treatment. You can ask for copies of your medical records for yourself. The insurance companies will also request these documents if you file for workers’ comp. It’s important to double check that your doctor has not been de-authorized by your employer, however, before you make your appointment. Usually, you can see your own doctor – but it is best to make sure.
- Contact an experienced work injury lawyer. Some injuries can have long-term consequences that could affect your ability to work. If you’re injured on the job, you want an attorney who can help you file for workers’ comp, and who can represent you during settlement discussions or during a hearing if your claim is denied.
It can take anywhere from weeks to months to reach workers’ compensation settlements that are fair to the people who file them, so it’s important to start the process quickly. If you delay in speaking to a work injury lawyer, or if you fail to report an incident, you can put your claim in jeopardy. You can collect workers’ comp benefits even if you are to blame for the accident, so long as you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, and you didn’t purposely inflict an injury upon yourself. You have up to two (2) years to report a workers’ compensation claim.
What You Should Know About OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA, or OSH Act) was passed in 1970 ensuring all workers the rights to a safe and healthy working environment. OSHA guarantees workers the rights to:
- Ask OSHA to inspect their workplace
- Use their rights under the law without retaliation and discrimination
- Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language you can understand
- Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
- Get copies of their medical records
If you reported a potentially hazardous working environment to OSHA, make sure your work injury lawyer knows. Copies of those incident reports can be used to help build a case during workers’ compensation settlements.
If you were injured on the job, Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq can help. Please call 1-800-923-3456 or contact us online to speak with a dedicated work injury lawyer.