More than a third of workplace injuries happen during an employee’s first year on the job. The most common causes of workplace injuries are slips and falls and overexertion.
You might think that you’ll get assistance from your employer because they have insurance. That’s not always the case. Insurance companies are known to deny workers’ compensation claims.
A workplace injury is a serious issue and you don’t want to fight with insurance companies to get something you’re legally entitled to.
You need to show that your claim is valid. The only way to do that is to know what your rights are and how to protect yourself.
Fortunately, you’re in the right place to learn both of those things. Read on to learn how to protect your legal rights when you’re injured at work.
Table of Contents
Report the Incident Immediately
Reporting the incident immediately starts a paper trail that protects your legal rights. Your employer should have a written procedure to handle workplace injuries.
If the policy has a point person to speak to, make sure you go to that person. If that person isn’t available, go to someone else in that department.
Make sure that the report gets documented and that you have a copy of that report. You could talk to someone about the injury but they don’t write down the details.
That leaves you vulnerable because you can’t prove your claim without written documentation. Your case will turn into a matter of who said what.
Write down as many details as possible about your injury. Include how it happened, the conditions of the area, who was around, and anything that may have caused the incident.
Capture these details while they’re fresh in your mind. You may forget small details later on that could support your case.
Know the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a legal deadline that requires you to report and file the claim. The statute of limitations varies by state to report the injury and file a legal claim.
That’s why it’s necessary to report the injury as soon as possible. Even if you think that the injury isn’t serious, it could turn into something serious days or weeks later.
The longer you wait to report the injury, the harder it is to prove that your medical issues are the result of a workplace accident.
See a Doctor as Soon as Possible
Seeing a doctor shortly after the workplace accident leaves another paper trail to help prove your claim. If you had a serious injury, call 911 immediately.
If the injury isn’t serious, book an appointment with a doctor with experience in workers’ compensation claims. They understand how insurance companies work.
They also know how to document your injuries and treat common workplace injuries.
Your employer may ask you to see their workplace injury doctor. You don’t have to. You have the right to choose your own doctor.
If an employer asks you to see their own doctor or tries to force you to do so, that’s a red flag. Consult with an attorney and go see your own doctor.
Your Legal Rights in a Workplace Accident
It’s intimidating to go through a legal process without much legal knowledge. It could cause you to back down or accept a low settlement offer.
The fact is that you have a host of legal rights under the law. You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. You have the right to see your own doctor, as long as they’re board-certified.
You may have the right to disability insurance if the injury prevents you from working. You have the right to appeal a decision you don’t agree with.
You also have the right to hire an attorney to guide you through the claims process.
Contact a Workplace Injury Attorney
You may be reluctant to get a workplace injury lawyer involved in your case, but it’s a step that will save you time and stress. You’re also likely to get a better outcome because you have an attorney to fight for your rights.
Before you think that you can’t afford an attorney, know that most attorneys offer to represent you on a contingency basis.
That means you don’t pay them unless they help you get a financial settlement for your claim. They get paid a percentage of your settlement.
The percentage gets set by the Workers’ Compensation Commission in your state. Expect to pay between 10% and 25% of your settlement.
How to Find a Workplace Injury Lawyer
If you search for a workplace injury attorney on Google, you’re going to get too many options. Instead of going with the first lawyer you find, you should know how to select a top workplace injury lawyer.
Visit the websites of several attorneys and make sure that they specialize in workplace injury cases. You can look further to see if they specialize in your industry or type of injury.
For example, power lineman injury attorneys understand the reasons why power linemen get injured. They also know how to file a claim to get the best result.
Workplace injury lawyers offer a free consultation. Gather all of your paperwork regarding your claim. Bring your income statements and correspondence with your employer.
Ask the attorney about their experience with workplace injury cases. Learn what kind of results they get for clients.
Find out what they think about your case and how long it will take to get the settlement. Be sure to interview at least three attorneys to find the right one for your case.
Protect Yourself if You’re Injured at Work
A workplace injury can impact your financial situation if you don’t know what your legal right are. You need to report the injury right away and work with a workplace injury lawyer to help you protect your rights.
The more you can document early on, the easier it is to get a good settlement. Do you want more legal insights? Click on the Law tab at the top of this page.