Knowing Your Rights: Work-Related Injuries

Every year, millions of Americans suffer work-related injuries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 3% of full-time employees in the U.S. experience a work-related injury or catch an occupational illness every year.  

A work-related injury can wreak havoc on you and your family, especially if you’re saving up to buy a home, to pay for your kids’ education, or to enjoy your retirement years. In almost all instances and in nearly every state, employers are required under state law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance that covers their employees’ work-related injuries.

What do you need to know if you or a loved one have been injured in the workplace?

File an Accident Report. As soon as possible after the injury occurs, you should inform your employer. Regardless of whether you believe you’re seriously injured, report the accident. Many states provide a limited number of days to report the injury, and workers’ compensation insurance rarely provides coverage for those who haven’t reported in a timely fashion.

Your Medical Expenses Should be Covered Under Workers’ Comp. While you might only be able to recover a portion of your lost income due to missed work, workers’ comp almost always covers ALL of your medical expenses (including diagnosis and treatment of the job-related injury). The exception: if it is proven that an employee was intoxicated or using illegal drugs at the time of the accident.

You Can Be Reimbursed for Non-Work Injuries. If you fall down a flight of stairs or slip on your way to the restroom, you have been injured at work, and workers’ comp insurance nearly always pays for such injuries.

Workers’ Comp is a “No-Fault” System. Unlike many personal injury lawsuits, little time is spent determining which party is at fault. Employers or their insurance companies are required to pay disability benefits whether, they, you or someone else is to blame for your injury (with very limited exceptions).

You May Be Able to File a Claim for Personal Injury Compensation, too. In some cases, especially where employer negligence can be proven, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation in addition to workers’ compensation.

Your Employer Cannot Legally Retaliate Against You. The law prevents employers from taking unwarranted actions against you (demotions, terminations, salary reductions, negative performance reviews, etc.) simply because you are seeking benefits under workers’ comp.  

Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer. Don’t try to take on your employer’s insurance company by yourself.  Seek out an experienced legal professional.

Any time a workplace injury occurs, there are many options available to workers, as an attorney, like an injury at work lawyer in Buffalo, NY from a law firm such as Hurwitz, Whitcher & Malloy, Attorneys at Law,  can explain.