In the US, employers and companies are obligated by law to make sure that all their employees have an inherently safe work environment. Despite these laws, in 2019, there were almost three million work-related injuries in the US alone. There are various reasons why workplace injuries occur, and the results vary from minor injuries to potentially deadly consequences. Whilst there are different rules in each State with regard to the details of workers’ compensation, workers’ rights when it comes to making a compensation claim after an accident are pretty standard across the country.
Here’s what you need to understand about workers’ compensation
Workers Have the Right to Claim Compensation Unimpeded
Possibly the single most important thing that everyone needs to understand is that all workers have the absolute right to file for compensation without any repercussions or threat of repercussions from their company. This is a fundamental worker’s right across the whole of the US and is designed to protect workers. Making a claim against an employer can be very traumatic as workers may naturally feel worried about being fired or having some other kind of revenge taken against them. It is illegal for employers to try and influence their employees in any way including offering them a financial incentive for not making a compensation claim.
All Places of Work Must Have a Book to Report Accidents and Injuries
This is absolutely set in stone across the whole of the US, and any work which doesn’t have an accident book can incur a heavy fine. The book is vital to protect the rights of workers who have been injured in an incident. Any worker who gets hurt doing their job or in some other way in their place of work should immediately report the incident in the accident book. There are some states which have time limits on how long after an accident the report is still admissible as evidence in court so injured workers should report it straight away in the presence of their employer and any witnesses. Witnesses can be very important in the later compensation case and it is vital for all witnesses to understand that they are also protected and that the employer is also prohibited from taking repercussions or trying to influence their testimony.
Workers Have the Right to Seek Legal Representation
In order to effectively file a compensation claim after a workplace injury, every US worker has the right to hire the services of a lawyer. The experts at https://www.fendonlaw.net/workers-compensation-lawyer/ explain that the responsibility of the lawyer representing the injured worker is to do everything they can to secure the maximum compensation that the worker is entitled to. This may come as a result of a court’s judgment or may come through an out of court settlement. Whatever happens, the worker is entitled to continue in their job during the case and afterward without being treated any differently as a result.
Medical Bills Can Be Claimed from the Employer
Workplace injuries can result in seriously high medical bills and workers’ compensation should cover all of these costs. Every worker who has been injured has the right to seek medical attention immediately and should not be prohibited from leaving their workplace right away. It is very important that medical treatment is sought straight away so that treatment can begin straight away and so that the medical reports can be entered as evidence in the compensation case. It may be that workers are permanently injured or incapacitated as a result of the accident and compensation may be granted for future treatment.
Workers May Need to Make a Claim against a Colleague
Whilst the majority of workplace compensation claims are against an employer, there are incidents where workers may need to make a claim against a colleague. This may be due to negligence or to a deliberate act of injury against another person. Claims against an employer are heard in workers’ compensation court but if a worker makes a claim against a colleague, this will be done in civil court. Either way, the rest of the process is the same; the incident should be reported, medical and legal help should be sought, and all rights should be protected.
Workplace injuries can cause a huge amount of pain and complications but workers’ compensation exists to help deal with the consequences. There are various laws that protect workers and which both workers and employers should understand to ensure that no rights are being breached. If a workplace injury does occur, it is vital that workers follow the correct procedures as explained in this article.