Workplace accidents take just a few short moments to happen. During those few moments, a person can sustain an injury that could temporarily or permanently change their life. While you can’t always avoid or control the accident, it is in your hands to take control of what happens after you’ve suffered a workplace injury. You have rights that legally protect you after an accident, but, first, let’s see what comprises a workplace accident.
Common Types of Workplace Accidents
Slips, trips, falls, broken bones, muscle strains, repetitive motion strains, being hit by a falling object, cuts, burns, collisions, and inhaling toxic fumes are the most common types of accidents and injuries that occur. The types of injuries often have to do with the industry and line of work. Some industries are known to be more hazardous than others, such as construction, mining, and agriculture industries. Having said that, injuries can happen pretty much in any workplace.
Because they’re not controlled incidents, an injury sustained from someone intentionally trying to hurt you doesn’t qualify as a workplace accident. Also, some work-related injuries can happen outside the work premises. For instance, a car accident going to, or coming back from work is considered a workplace accident.
After any of these injuries, you can find yourself in a life-altering situation which is why there are laws to protect you and help you deal with the situation. Continue reading to learn about your rights are, and how to use them.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation
In the unfortunate event of an accident, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation. This compensation pays for lost wages while you are out of work as well as the medical attention you need at the time of the injury, and any continuous medical needs during your recovery.
To exercise this right, there are a few things you have to do after an injury. First off, you need to keep in mind that there’s a statute of limitations to making a claim in almost all states. If you don’t make the claim within a certain time frame, you could forfeit your right and not receive any compensation. Second, to receive the benefits of this claim, you have to prove you were not at fault. To do so, you would need to collect as much information as you can concerning the accident. This includes images of the accident scene, photos of your injury, witness statements, and more.
Seeking Disability Compensation
Anyone injured at work has the right to seek medical attention. If an injury is permanent and stops you from any type of work, you can seek disability compensation. Some benefits payout until retirement age.
The Right to Sue an Employer
Your injury could have happened because your employer did not provide a safe workplace environment. Or if you were injured handling a piece of machinery, it might be because you haven’t had sufficient training to use it safely, and this too is the responsibility of the employer.
If you see that your employer has not done their best to protect you, you can sue them. To ensure a favorable outcome, your best shot is to have a personal injury lawyer on your side to guide you through the entire legal process to get you the maximum compensation you are owed. The laws governing personal injury cases can vary slightly by state so if your injury took place in Oakland, for example, you need to seek the help of a professional Californian lawyer. Suing an employer doesn’t always mean you will wind up in court; an experienced lawyer can make an out-of-court settlement.
The Right to Return to Your Job
If a doctor gives you the green light to return to work, your employer doesn’t have the right to stop you. No one has the right to discriminate against you because of your injury. They must prove that you’re not capable of carrying on if that’s the situation.
You also have the right to seek another suitable position within the same company you worked for prior to the accident. So, if you’re not able to carry out certain duties, but there are other jobs that suit your current condition, such as a desk job, you can be transferred.
The Right to Make an Appeal
If you don’t agree with the decision reached by the workers’ compensation court, your employer, or an insurance company, you have the right to object to the decision and make an appeal in court.
The laws are put in place to protect you, but you need to understand your rights in order to obtain these legal benefits. If after a workplace injury anyone is making it difficult for you to exercise your rights, then it’s best for you to seek legal representation to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.