I Was Injured at Work; What are My Rights?
Regardless of where you work, your employer must provide a safe and healthy working environment to the best of their ability. Even with the best safety measures in place, accidents and injuries do happen. If it happens to you, you need to understand what your rights are and how to proceed.
What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Employers who have a certain number of employees are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance covers employees when they get injured or have a work-related illness on the job.
Each state has slightly different workers’ compensation laws, but in every state, the first item of business after an injury is to inform your employer. Depending on where you work, the number of days may vary. You should try to report it immediately or as quickly after as possible. After reporting it, you might need to file a claim for benefits if a benefit is delayed or denied. The insurance company will decide whether or not they will authorize this care or benefit.
Your Rights After a Work-Related Injury
Remember, after a work-related injury; you do have rights, regardless of what the insurance company or your employer tells you. Your rights (depending on the laws in your state) include:
· You have the right to file a claim for benefits for medical treatment, medical bills, paid time off to recuperate, and other expenses.
· If your doctor says it’s okay to return to work, you can.
· You have the right to medical care after a work-related injury. However, the insurance company may require you to see specific medical personnel. Check with your employer.
· If you cannot return to work due to your injury, you have the right to disability payments of some kind.
· You have the right to refuse to file a health insurance claim to pay for medical bills
· If your employer tries to persuade you not to file a workers’ compensation claim and offers you something else in return, you have the right to say no.
· You also have the right to calculate your own expenses, not accept what the workers’ compensation insurance company deems appropriate.
· You have the right to appeal and take legal action if you disagree with your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance, especially if you are denied a claim.
· You have the right to legal representation throughout the process.
Along with these rights, you also have the right to be treated fairly without discrimination or the threat of retaliation.
If you are injured on the job, before deciding anything, consult your workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.