Worldwide an estimated 340 million occupational accidents happen each year. Understanding how worker’s compensation works and the steps you need to take can make the entire experience less traumatic.
Being able to file an insurance claim won’t take away the fact that you were hurt on the job, but it will compensate you for the injury and medical expenses you might face.
Keep reading to find out more about the five things you need to know about worker’s compensation.
1. You Need to Report It
When you suffer an injury at work you need to report it. You need to report it as soon as possible, and depending on the state and sector you’re working in, you might just have a small window to make the report. It’s important to act quickly, especially if you’re unsure how much time you have to make the report.
Notifying your employer is the first step of the workers’ comp process. If you fail to report your incident in time you won’t be able to file a claim.
It’s also a good idea to make sure any witnesses also report the incident for an added layer of security. If no one witnessed the incident, you should inform a co-worker so that someone else is also aware.
During the reporting process, you also need to seek medical care or treatment immediately. You might find that your workers’ compensation benefits can be compromised if you are truly injured but you failed to seek medical care for the injury.
2. Not All Types of Claims Are Covered
It’s important to always read the fine print. When opting in for workers’ compensation insurance, you need to understand exactly what is covered by the policy and what isn’t.
Some common events that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation include:
- Injuries sustained by independent contractors
- Injuries sustained while intoxicated or on drugs
- Claims submitted after an employee is fired or laid off
If you have any questions regarding what is and isn’t included in your policy, it can be a good idea to contact your human resource person or your insurance agent or your insurer’s customer support team. They will be able to walk you through the policy and explain when you can and cannot file a claim.
If your claim is covered you can receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Replacement wages or payment for time you are out-of-work due to the work injury
- Disability support
- Death benefits
You’ll receive a portion of your income while you’re unable to work. The goal of these benefits is to sustain you while you’re recovering from your injury. Depending on the severity of your injury you’ll also be eligible to receive coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
If your injury requires that you be retrained, this will also be covered by your worker’s compensation.
3. Worker Retaliation Is Illegal
You don’t have to be afraid to report an incident. In all states, there are laws and regulations in place to prevent an employer from firing an employee for filing a claim. If you’re worried that your employer might retaliate, you can rest easy knowing demotions, pay cuts, and changes in responsibility are all seen as acts of retaliation.
Your worker’s rights protect you against retaliation. If you feel you’ve been negatively impacted by your employer after filing a claim, you can seek legal advice to take the matter further.
So, don’t be afraid to report an accident or injury.
4. Employees Cannot Sue Their Employer
Worker’s compensation is a type of insurance that employers buy into. The reason employers spend this money is to cover any on-the-job injury costs for their employees.
If you choose to file for worker’s compensation after an injury, you cannot sue your employer because of the injury. If you receive wage replacement and medical benefits, you waive your rights to sue.
The only instances where you’ll be able to sue your employer after receiving worker’s compensation is if your employer was reckless or if action is taken to hurt you. There are other scenarios when you suffered an injury while on the job and then you can sue a third party as well in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim. Each case is fact intensive, and you need to contact a lawyer to discuss your options. At The Dejeu Law Firm we would be happy to help you.
5. Collect and Save Evidence
While your only responsibilities are to notify your employer or manager of the injury and seek medical care, it’s always a good idea to gather your own information as well. It’s better for everyone if your insurance claims are resolved quickly. By being proactive you can help the insurance claims process go faster and you’ll be able to receive the support you need as soon as possible.
Once an injury has occurred you need to collect and save any evidence you can find. This can include photos of the scene, a detailed description of what happened, and even testimonials from witnesses. The more evidence you can put together, the better.
Your insurer will use the evidence you collected to process the claim. By getting all the evidence beforehand you’ll save time and remove any unnecessary delays from the claims process. If you don’t collect the evidence your insurer will need to do an investigation to gather the evidence themselves.
Worker’s Compensation Made Easy
When it comes to worker’s compensation, you need to do your research. Each insurance claim case is different, and it depends on your specific incident and the details surrounding it. So, take the time to ensure you’re getting the best advice possible for your specific needs.
If you suffered an injury while on the job and need to file a worker’s compensation claim, contact us to help you. At The Dejeu Law Firm, we’re dedicated to representing individuals in personal injury cases in the courts of the State of South Carolina and Georgia.