The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.2 million nonfatal workplace injuries in 2021. This means that out of 100 full-time workers, 2.7 cases of workplace injuries occurred.
If you’re one of the unlucky few who suffer a workplace injury, consult a workers comp lawyer with a track record of success – Pacific Attorney Group is an excellent option. That said, what rights do you have following a workplace accident? Let’s shed some light on the matter.
Prompt Medical Attention
After a workplace accident, you have the right to receive prompt medical assistance. Your employer is required by law to provide you with first aid and medical attention. And if your injury is serious, they should call an ambulance immediately. You can seek medical attention and file a worker’s compensation claim later if they don’t.
File a Claim Without Fear of Retaliation
Sure, your employer may be unhappy that you got hurt on the job. But that doesn’t give them the right to retaliate against you. Still, the fear of losing one’s job is often enough to stop employees from filing a claim. After all, we all want to be in our employer’s good books, and no one wants the hassle of looking for a new job.
Nonetheless, if you’re injured at work, you have rights. You can’t be fired, demoted, or have your hours reduced for filing a claim. If this happens, you can file a retaliation claim against your employer. The law protects you and ensures you won’t have to worry about losing your job for getting injured while on it.
Benefits Regardless of Who’s at Fault
In most cases, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault for the accident. If you’re injured, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits typically cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. In fact, in California, you’re entitled to a maximum of $10,000 in medical treatment as you await the approval of your claim.
You’re also entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits if you cannot return to your previous job. Such job displacement benefits can help you stay afloat financially as you look for a new job. And let’s face it, you may be unable to do the same job after an injury. Hence, these benefits can help you make ends meet as you transition to a new line of work. Among the other benefits, you may be entitled to are the following:
- Disability benefits – workplace injuries can result in temporary or permanent disability. If you cannot work, you may be eligible for these benefits. The former provides 60-70 percent of your previous wages, while the latter pays you a percentage of your previous earnings, depending on the severity of your disability. Your attorney can help you compute your benefit payment by considering your claim’s start date, the extent of injury, and age.
- Death benefits – if your workplace injury results in death, your family may be eligible for death benefits. And while such benefits may never truly make up for the loss of a loved one, they can help ease a family’s financial burden during the difficult time.
Right to Appeal
When you file a claim, the insurance company will investigate it and then decide. If they deny your claim, you have the right to appeal their decision. The appeals process can be confusing and overwhelming, but a workers’ comp attorney can help you navigate it. They can also increase the chances of winning your appeal and getting the benefits you need and deserve.
As we’ve pointed out, the complexities of the worker’s compensation system can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. You have the right to seek legal assistance to guide and represent you throughout the process. A lawyer can ensure your insurer doesn’t take advantage of you. Plus, they can negotiate on your behalf, ensuring you get the full extent of benefits you’re entitled to while protecting your legal rights.
And if the insurer is adamant or decides to deny your claim, your lawyer can take them to court. With an attorney by your side, your odds of getting the benefits you need to recover from your workplace injury increase.
Assert your rights if you’re injured at the workplace. Even if the injury appears minor, contact a worker’s compensation attorney to discuss your legal options. Besides, an injury could worsen over time, and you may need more extensive medical treatment than initially thought. And if that happens, you’ll be glad you have an attorney in your corner.