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Injured on the Job? How You Can Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

injured-on-job-workplaceIf you are injured on the job, you can be able to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer is required by law to pay for these benefits. This allows you to get payments if you get hurt or sick in your workplace. You will be paid for time missed from work and for your medical treatment.

Things to consider are:

1) When to file your claim;

2) The company you work for should have workers’ compensation insurance;

3) Telling your employer you are injured;

4) You need to be an employee of the company;

5) Your injury needs to be related to your job;

6) Witnesses; and

7) What you give up when you file

When Should I File for Workers’ Compensation?

You should file your claim for workers as soon as possible. You need to do this right after you get injured on the job or start to feel sick. Any delay can possibly hurt your case. It is important to remember that taking too long to file can allow a workers’ compensation insurance carrier to delay payments. The delay can help the insurance carrier’s case in proving that you are faking this injury.

Does The Company I Work For Need to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Yes, to qualify for workers’ compensation, your employer needs to have workers’ compensation coverage. You need to be sure of this fact because not all states require employers to have this form of insurance. Typically, most companies are required to be covered. If you work for a small company with only a few co-workers, you should have your attorney double-check and make sure your company is insured.

When Do I Tell My Employer I Was Hurt on the Job?

You need to tell your supervisor or manager that you were hurt on the job right away. If you are experiencing a long-term injury that slowly gets worse with time, you should report it as soon as you believe it was caused by something you did in your job.

Do I Need to Technically be an Employee of my Company?

Not all workers are employees as they may be volunteers or independent contractors. Independent contractors are not employees and are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Examples of independent contractors might include freelance writers or computer consultants. Even if you are called an independent contractor by your employer, they might only be doing this to not have to pay certain taxes. Also, your company might just label you an independent contractor to avoid paying you overtime and get around providing rest breaks.

Your lawyer needs to make it clear that there are specific facts to show that you are technically an employee. This is important because this status determines whether your employer will pay you or not. If you are an employee, your employer will have to pay for things such as unemployment insurance, disability insurance, or social security. However, if you are an independent contractor, your employer does not have to cover you under workers’ compensation insurance. You need to discuss the specifics of your working situation with a lawyer in detail.

How Does My Workers’ Compensation Injury Need to Relate to My Job?

Your injury needs to be work-related to be covered by workers’ compensation. Any injury or illness that forces you to have to see a doctor (or that causes disability or death) qualifies you for benefits. For example, a specific physical accident such as falling from a ladder is work-related. Also, injuries that take time to develop, such as one caused by repeated motions, are considered work-related too. Your injury might take the form of an illness as well. Medical conditions caused by exposure to chemicals at work are also compensable. Other examples include loading boxes as part of your warehouse job or developing carpal tunnel syndrome because of typing on the job. What is deemed as work-related has expanded over the years to include things such as psyche, chemical exposure, and allergies. The bottom line is that anything done for the benefit of your employer is work-related.

Your lawyer will help you if the facts of your injury make it hard to figure out if it is work-related. Even injuries that result from company events such as holiday parties, golf tournaments, softball games, or picnics can qualify.

Your lawyer will make sure that you visit a doctor to verify that there is objective medical evidence to show that your injury was caused by your workplace.

Do I Need Witnesses For My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

To help your lawyer with your case, it would be good to keep a list of witnesses to make it clear that you were hurt because of something that happened in your workplace. Witnesses will make make your case stronger and make your lawyer’s job of proving the facts easier. Your lawyer needs to send out a notice about the date, time, and place of your injury as soon as possible.

Always keep notes for yourself. This should include a description of what happened and who saw it. Keep notes of you who spoke with in your company after the accident happened. Also remember to write down the specific dates and times of events and conversations.

What Do I Give Up for Going Forward and Filing For Workers’ Compensation?

If you go forward and file for Workers’ Compensation against your employer, you give up the right to sue for injury or illness. It’s a good idea to consult with an employment lawyer  before undertaking any workers’ comp matter.