No one plans to be injured. Getting injured at work can be a scary prospect that most least expect but know the risks and potential for injury. That reason alone is why it’s so important to ensure you’re taking every safety precaution possible in your job to prevent injuries from happening. But, of course, that’s not always possible. If you find yourself sustaining an injury from work, here are a few things to take note of and questions you need answered.
If you have experienced an injury of any kind while at work, you need to report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible. There are statutes of limitation on work accidents. Waiting too long to report an injury could cause you to not be eligible for Worker’s Compensation.
Your employer cannot fire you for reporting an injury. But, they may not be happy to have an employee around who has to be on any kind of reduced duties. Don’t be surprised if even some of your co-workers accuse you of slacking or worse, faking it. Document any harassment you receive about being on Workers’ Compensation.
Is There Money Available For Me?
Yes, your company does have different tiers of payments available for you, depending on the severity and length of recovery time from your injury. It’s also possible that you may have to remain working, but at a reduced capacity for a period of time, without any additional remuneration. Any benefits you receive will be distributed by an insurance company, not by your employer. Your employer doesn’t participate in negotiating the amount you receive.
Insurance Doesn’t Make You Whole
That being said, Workers’ Compensation, like any other form of insurance, doesn’t make you whole. It won’t pay for any emotional trauma associated with the injury, nor for pain and suffering or scarring and disfigurement. Keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of weeks you can be compensated for.
Your employer does have to pay for any medical treatment associated with your injury. If the injury results in a fatality, payment is made to the family with ongoing death benefits payments or by lump sum. This is dependent on the time of death and the average wage earned by the descendant.
Don’t Expect Benefits to Arrive Right Away
In all cases, if you’re determined to be eligible for any kind of monetary benefit, don’t expect such payments to come immediately. It’s always been a good general practice to keep an emergency fund capable of covering basic expenses for about 3 to 6 months. A good practice for such a fund is to keep it separate from your checking and savings accounts so that you don’t go and spend it on something that isn’t an emergency.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
While you’re working through all of the exams and questions regarding your injury, there’ll come a time when you start to think about whether or not you should hire a lawyer. You may feel like your appraiser isn’t listening to you and taking all of the facts of your case into consideration.
Or you may feel like you’re not getting what you’re owed for your injury.
Initial consultation meetings with a lawyer who handles Workers’ Compensation are generally free. A lot of companies are experienced at delaying payment of any benefits owed, or for finding reasons to wiggle out of having to pay you anything at all. A lawyer will be able to determine what benefit amounts you might be eligible for under the law.
This is also the time to present any documentation you might have taken for any harassment you experienced.
Lawyers Help with Hearings and Benefits
If you end up having to attend a hearing in order to get your claim, your Workers’ Compensation lawyer will attend that with you. There are different levels of compensation through the Workers’ Compensation system, such as full or partial temporary disability, and full or partial permanent disability.
Your lawyer will be able to explain which of these levels your case may qualify for.
In the case of an injury that you believe is work-related, you must be sure to report it immediately. Just bear in mind that it takes time for any sort of monetary compensation to happen. There’ll be an initial doctor’s visit and possibly some physical therapy sessions to attend. Failure to “go along with the program” and participate in each of these stages could result in a loss of any benefits you might have been eligible for.