Featured Image Caption: Work-Related Injuries
Working in a safe and healthy environment is your right, but some employers fail, and employees suffer from injuries. Understanding your rights as a team member is critical so you can move forward with more confidence and less intimidation. Below you will find information on personal injuries and what you are legally entitled to do in these situations.
Various Types of Personal Injuries
Many employees feel that only physical injuries qualify as personal injuries. However, mental and emotional issues are also eligible. Qualifications generally include occupational illnesses, broken bones, burning accidents, psychological injuries, and more. Even repetitive strain injuries from office work can qualify under certain circumstances, especially if you have expressed concerns to your employer and they fail to allow reasonable accommodations to prevent the injuries.
If a preventable accident at work aggravates a pre-existing condition, it can also be considered a personal injury. Each state has a listing of what employers must cover and steps employees can take when placed in harm’s way. If you aren’t sure that your particular injury falls into a category, get a consultation with a lawyer and go over your injuries, costs, and options. Keep in mind if your injury is something minor that requires no time off or medical treatment to remedy, such as a minor cut or abrasion that heals on its own and doesn’t impede your ability to work, you likely won’t qualify for compensation as there is nothing to compensate for.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you suffer from a personal injury caused by your job, receiving medical treatment is your right. Some employees believe they are only permitted to use items inside a workplace medical cabinet, but that is not the case. Regardless of how major or minor your accident and injury are, an employer is legally required to offer you medical treatment when requested. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance, even if that means seeking medical treatment from an on-location nurse or going to the emergency room and your primary care physician for an examination.
File a Claim
If you disagree with a decision made by your employer, there are steps you can take to appeal. Understanding these filings and subsequent steps may be challenging, which is why you should seek counsel from an experienced job site accident lawyer. The attorney will help you throughout the process and work hard to receive the compensation you deserve, regardless of if it is monetary, medical assistance, and more. A job site accident lawyer can also help if you disagree with your insurance company; his top priority is getting the compensation you are entitled to receive.
So many people return to work before they are ready due to loss of income and fear of losing their job. When seeking treatment from a doctor, ask her to write a note stating when you can return to the workplace. An honest and transparent physician will not cause more strain on your body by forcing you back. However, some doctors that work directly for an employer may be dishonest, which is why it would be best to choose a neutral physician or get a second opinion. Keep in mind that you may have to cover the cost for a second opinion, but your employer may be required to pay those expenses once the case has been approved if you have filed a claim.
Personal injury cases can feel controversial to many, especially to those who don’t want to be a bother and make waves at work, or who feel that the injury was partially their fault. However, even if you don’t feel like you deserve compensation or “need it that badly”, it’s important to stand up for your rights as an employee. Doing so sets a precedent for your employer to follow and makes it easier for other employees to stand up and get the compensation that they may desperately need, as well as encourages employers to make the workplace safer to prevent further injuries to others.
By Meghan Belnap
who is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family and residing in Oklahoma.