What Happens if I Injure Myself at Work?

What Happens if I Injure Myself at Work?

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What Happens if I Injure Myself at Work?

While those working in construction, warehousing, or manufacturing can be at a higher risk of suffering severe work injuries, anyone can potentially get harmed on the job. If you got hurt, you might wonder, “What happens if I injure myself at work?” The good news is that workers’ compensation is generally available for injured workers. You could be entitled to benefits such as medical care, payments for lost income, and others. 

However, getting what you deserve with a workers’ compensation claim is not always straightforward. An insurer or employer could sabotage your claim and reduce or even deny your rightful benefits. Moreover, if you were misclassified as an independent contractor, you could be out of luck and unable to receive any workers’ compensation. 

Morgan & Morgan fights for the injured. We want you to get what you need to put your life back together after an occupational injury. Our experienced employment attorneys can appeal a denied workers’ comp claim, file a lawsuit on your behalf, and fight tooth and nail for what you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review to discover your options.

What Qualifies as a Work Injury?

Generally, a work injury includes any injury you experienced at work or in work-related activities. Workers’ comp covers most injuries and illnesses resulting from work events, equipment, and materials. Work activities can include any meetings, business trips, and social gatherings your employer requires you to attend, even if away from your regular workplace. 

Common Workplace Accidents and Injuries

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most common causes of workplace accidents and injuries in 2019 included: 

  • Slips and falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Getting struck by an object
  • Violence by persons or animals
  • Overexertion
  • Exposure to harmful substances
  • Fires and explosions

Most accidents and injuries at work qualify employees for certain benefits under the no-fault workers’ compensation program. 

You Could Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation

The main criteria for determining whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation include: 

  • You are a regular employee 
  • Your employer has workers’ compensation insurance
  • You were hurt at work or as a result of job-related duties

Workers’ compensation is generally only available for those who are official “employees” and not those working as independent contractors. 

Are You Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?

Unfortunately, misclassifying employees is common. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), 10-30 percent of American employees, the equivalent of several million workers, may be misclassified as independent contractors. Employers illegally misclassify workers to save on costly workers’ compensation contributions and payroll taxes.

Misclassification deprives employees of workers’ compensation benefits and many other crucial rights and protections, such as:

  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime pay
  • The right to collective bargaining
  • Unemployment benefits

If you believe an employer misclassified you, consider filing a report with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and speaking to one of our employment lawyers. You could be entitled to back pay, lost benefits, and other damages. Our lawyers could hold an unethical employer accountable and help you get what you deserve.

Accidents That May Not Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

Some incidents and injuries may not be covered by workers’ comp, including: 

  • Accidents that happen during lunch hour or on the commute to and from work
  • Injuries due to alcohol or drug consumption
  • Self-inflicted injuries 
  • Pre-existing conditions 
  • Accidents caused by horseplay or fighting
  • Emotional or mental stress unless resulting from your work and interfering with your ability to perform your job 
  • Injuries incurred while violating company policies or committing a crime

Knowing whether or not your injury qualifies for workers’ compensation can be tricky as there are gray areas. For example, if your injury happened outside your workplace, such as in the parking lot, your case may be complicated, but you could still be entitled to workers’ compensation. 

If you wonder what happens if you injure yourself at work, Morgan & Morgan can help. Our experienced workers’ comp attorneys can assess your accident and injury, determine whether you are entitled to benefits, and help you move forward with a claim.

Your Best Steps After Injuring Yourself at Work

Report an occupational injury to your employer immediately. If there is a significant delay between your injury and filing a workers’ compensation claim, the insurance provider could use this as an excuse to make it unnecessarily difficult for you to obtain workers’ comp benefits. They may even deny your claim altogether. After suffering a work injury, your next best steps include:

  • Promptly report the accident and injury to your employer or supervisor  
  • Seek medical help as soon as possible after the accident
  • File a workers’ compensation claim if you are eligible
  • Contact an attorney to determine all avenues for compensation

If you get hurt at work and your situation is complicated, or you are unsure what to do next, Morgan & Morgan is in your corner. We could help you file a workers’ comp claim, appeal a denial, and determine other ways to seek compensation. 

Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim After a Work Injury

The workers’ compensation claims process can differ slightly from one state to another. However, the general steps of filing a workers’ comp claim include: 

  1. Notifying the employer and completing the necessary documents for filing a claim
  2. Receiving medical help and undergoing an independent medical examination
  3. Waiting for the insurance company to determine benefits (typically 4-6 weeks)

The timeline for filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a year or less, depending on where you live. Therefore, you should file a workers’ comp claim as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, workers’ comp claim denials are not uncommon. Reasons for denials can include a missed filing deadline, lack of medical evidence, and others. Receiving a denial notice can be upsetting. However, if this happens to you, do not despair. An experienced workers’ comp attorney from Morgan & Morgan can help you navigate the appeals process, represent you in hearings, and gather the medical evidence required. 

Benefits for Injured Workers

Workers’ compensation benefits can reimburse injured employees for medical costs, wage losses, and other injury-related expenses. Benefits can include: 

Wage Replacement Payments

If you need time off work to recover from a work injury, you could be entitled to various income replacement benefits, depending on the scope of your injuries. While benefits differ depending on the state, workers are generally entitled to: 

  • Temporary disability benefits 
  • Long-term or lifetime disability benefits
  • Supplemental income if you can only work in a reduced capacity 

How much you receive will depend on several factors, such as your weekly wage, whether you can return to work, and the severity of your injuries. However, in most states, you could receive two-thirds of your average weekly salary in workers' comp benefits up to a certain cap.

Medical Expenses

Workers’ compensation generally pays for all your medical expenses connected to a work injury, which can include hospital stays, medications, medical devices, and ongoing care. 

Survivor Benefits

Employee death benefits can vary by state. However, most states offer some compensation to the surviving family of a worker. Spouses and dependents are generally eligible for death benefits, such as burial expenses and cash payments up to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s weekly wage. 

How Morgan & Morgan Can Help Injured Workers

When you get severely hurt at work, you need an advocate to help you discover all options for recovering the compensation you truly deserve. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be the first and best option for workers. However, if you are an independent contractor or your employer was uninsured, filing a personal injury lawsuit could be crucial for getting fair compensation.

Morgan & Morgan can be by your side whether you need help with a complex workers’ comp claim or want to sue those responsible for your injury. Our dedicated employment attorneys can: 

  • Assist you in obtaining appropriate medical treatment 
  • Identify all your options for recovering compensation 
  • Gather and organize the required medical evidence for your claim
  • Communicate with your workers' compensation insurance company
  • Help you receive a fair impairment rating
  • Represent and coach you for workers' comp appeal hearings
  • File a personal injury lawsuit, if appropriate

Our attorneys leave no stone unturned in getting justice and compensation for America’s injured workers. We want to help you receive what you deserve after an occupational injury so you can move forward with your life and provide for yourself and your loved ones. 

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • How Do I Know Whether I Am Misclassified as a Contractor?

    According to the IRS, you are a self-employed contractor if any of the following applies to you:

    • You are in business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor
    • You are a member of a partnership carrying on a business or trade
    • You are self-employed, whether full or part-time

    However, the lines between independent contractors and employees can be somewhat blurred. If you wonder whether you should be classified as an employee, it can help to ask yourself the following questions:

    • Does my company control my work hours, such as 9-5 or 40 hours per week?
    • Am I being told how to do my job and instructed by my employer? 
    • Am I being paid a salary or hourly compensation?
    • Does my employer provide tools, an office, a computer, or other work equipment? 
    • Do I receive paid vacation days, sick days, health insurance, and other employee benefits?

    If you say yes to one or all of these questions, you are most likely an employee. In general, independent contractors work on a project basis, invoice their clients, and set their own hours. 

  • What Happens if I Injure Myself at Work and My Employer Is Uninsured?

    Uninsured employers can spell disaster for injured workers and their families, who may be unable to recover workers’ compensation. However, if this has happened to you, and you cannot file a workers’ comp claim, you could still recover the compensation you and your family need. 

    Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

    You could hold an uninsured employer personally liable for your injuries and expenses. If your employer negligently caused your injuries, you could sue and receive compensation. An employer may be negligent if they: 

    • Failed to make your job site or environment reasonably safe
    • Did not provide the necessary safety equipment and gear
    • Inadequately trained employees
    • Failed to supervise workers
    • Provided defective machinery and equipment

    If a third-party (someone other than your employer) caused your accident and injury, you could have a legal case against them. Third parties can include property owners, contractors, manufacturers of defective equipment, and others. 

    Uninsured Employer Funds

    Most states have uninsured employer funds that offer benefits similar to workers’ compensation. If your employer is uninsured, contact your state’s workers’ compensation program to determine whether you qualify for uninsured employer fund benefits.

    Consult With an Attorney

    If you discover that your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage, consult with an employment lawyer as soon as possible to clarify your legal rights and the next best steps. Morgan & Morgan could help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

  • How Much Does a Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury Attorney Cost?

    Morgan & Morgan never charges clients upfront. We believe that injured workers deserve the best legal representation possible and the best shot of getting what they deserve. After all, your future life — and the lives of your loved ones — depends on the outcome of a workers’ comp claim or lawsuit. Therefore, you pay nothing when we take your case, and we only get paid when we win. 

  • Morgan & Morgan Has Your Back

    Morgan & Morgan understands that work injuries can have a devastating impact on your career and home life and could lead to significant financial hardship. We believe that nobody should have to worry about making ends meet after getting hurt at work. Our capable and compassionate attorneys could handle your workers’ comp claim or lawsuit from beginning to end, fighting for your best interests and maximum possible recovery. Get started now and contact us for free legal advice.

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“I was in a difficult situation when I was injured by a faulty product. I was hesitant to seek legal help but with the help of Morgan & Morgan, they made the process easy. They took immediate action and got me the compensation I deserved. I couldn't have done it without them. I highly recommend their services.” Estate of Patricia Allen v. RJ Reynolds, et al. | 2014

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