When Hurt on the Job, What are Your Rights?
Companies across America are required to provide their employees with a safe and healthy work environment. Even if an employer has done everything to ensure a safe workplace, the possibility of accidents and injuries is always there. Examples of workplace injuries include broken bones, irritating pre-existing conditions, occupational illnesses, and even mental stress.
Steps to Take When Hurt on the Job
When you are hurt on the job and asking, “What are my rights?”, the first and most important thing you can do is report the injury to your employer. Most states require you do so within a few days of your illness or injury so make this a priority after getting medical treatment.
Next, protect your rights by filing a claim with the workers’ compensation court in your state. This will put your employer, the court, and your job’s insurance company on formal notice of your injury.
Know Your Rights
While workers’ comp laws differ from state to state, there are a number of rights that are standard across the country. These include:
- The right to file a claim for injury or illness caused by your job in workers’ compensation court
- The right to see a doctor for medical treatment
- The right to return to your job once a physician has released you and given you permission to go back to work
- The right to some kind of disability compensation if you are unable to go back to work due to the injury or illness – whether permanently or temporarily
- The right to appeal decisions you do not like from your employer, the insurance company, or the workers’ comp court
- The right to hire an attorney to represent you during the process.
There are also situations in which you have the right to refuse certain offers or requests:
- You have the right to say no if you are hurt on the job and your employer asks you to use your own health insurance to pay for your treatment
- You have the right to say no if your employer offers you incentives, such as increased pay, shorter hours, etc. in an attempt to persuade you not to file a workers’ comp claim. Doing so is illegal, and you may want to consult a lawyer right away
- It is also illegal for your employer and/or manager to make things difficult for you once you get back to work. If harassment or hostility occurs because you filed a workers compensation claim, your company is acting illegally and can face strict penalties for such behavior.
Work injuries are painful enough without the added stress of mental and emotional repercussions. If you are unsure about how to proceed or caught in the middle of a claims battle, call today for a free consultation with an attorney.