As an employee it is important to know how to properly handle workplace injuries. The specifics of workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, but the general responsibilities of employers and employees remain consistent. For employers, it is their continuous duty to ensure the workplace is safe for all employees; as an employee, it is your job to act in an appropriate manner while at work. If you have been injured while working in an altered state or while engaging in an activity that is specifically prohibited, you will not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Am I eligible for workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation covers injuries that happen in the line of duty, regardless of fault. For example, if you are injured while responsibly climbing a ladder while working, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Typically, workers’ compensation will not cover injuries that happen during your work commute or off-site during non-working hours. Workers’ comp is available to all employees, unless an independent contractor, domestic worker, or certain categories of agriculture workers.

What benefits am I entitled to?

Workplace injuries often result in more expenses than just medical. Depending on the severity of the workplace injury employees involved in a workers’ compensation case are entitled to wage benefits, medical expenses, vocational job retraining, permanent partial disability benefits, and permanent total disability benefits.

What should I do if I’m injured at work?

If you are faced with an injury at work, it is important to immediately report your injury to your employer or immediate supervisor. By law your employer is required to fill out this form. Make sure to review the form to ensure all information is accurately reported, and request a copy for your own records. The longer you wait to report your workplace injury, the more difficult it will be to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for the injury. If you are caught exaggerating your injury in the report you may face serious legal consequences. As an injured employee, you are not required to hire an attorney to assist you in the workers’ compensation process, however, it is highly advised, especially with claims that may result in greater benefits.

What if my employer refuses to report my workplace injury?

When an employer refuses to report a workplace injury it is almost always because the employer is trying to avoid the associated costs. All employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, however, the expense of paying out claims can be quite heavy. If your employer tries to convince you that you are not eligible to receive workers’ comp, refuses to file a claim with their workers’ compensation carrier, or lies about the filing of a claim, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Brady / Donahue.