What Is the Term for Being Hurt at Work?

What Is the Term for Being Hurt at Work?

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What Is the Term for Being Hurt at Work?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an injury or illness is defined as a work-related injury if an event or exposure in the workplace either caused or contributed to the worker's current condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition. If you're asking the question, "What is it called when you get hurt at work?" — you've likely already experienced something like the OSHA definition and are looking for answers.

Fortunately, almost every state in the U.S. requires employers to carry worker's compensation insurance to cover medical and other expenses for workers hurt on the job. The insurance is purchased either through private insurance carriers or competitive state funds. Let's take a look at worker's compensation and the process required to receive benefits.

What do you get when you get hurt at work?

When you're a hard-working person just trying to get by, getting injured on the job can be a serious issue because it interferes with your ability to earn a paycheck. You could get injured by a single event, like breaking a bone from a fall over cardboard boxes or getting burned by a chemical. Or, you could become ill from repeated exposure to toxic substances or become hurt from repetitive actions that cause injury over time. You could even become injured psychologically from a high-stress position. Workers’ comp can cover some but not all stress-related injuries. Workers’ comp benefits can include the following:

Medical care - Your employer may pay for medical costs associated with your work-related injury or illness, which generally includes doctor's visits, surgery, therapy, and treatment, tests, medications, special medical equipment, and travel costs to and from treatment.

Temporary disability benefits - These benefits cover your lost pay partially if you cannot perform your regular job duties during your recovery.

Permanent disability benefits - If you don't recover fully and your injury causes you to lose physical or mental function permanently, these benefits will return a portion of the payment you should have been able to earn.

Supplemental job displacement benefits - These are vouchers you can use to help cover the costs of retraining or to enhance current skills if you are eligible to get permanent disability benefits, your employer does not offer you work, and you do not return to work for the employer where you were injured. This benefit is only available to workers who were injured in 2004 or later. Suppose you were injured in 2013 or later, and you took advantage of the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit. In that case, you may also be eligible for an additional one-time payment because of the Return-to-Work Supplement Program.

Death benefits - This is payment to a deceased worker's spouse, children, or other dependents should the worker die from a job injury or illness.

What should I do immediately after being hurt at work or developing a work-related illness?

Report your injury to a supervisor as quickly as possible. Likewise, if you've discovered you've developed an illness you believe to be work-related, report it as soon as you can. Quickly reporting work-related harm helps to avoid problems and delays in receiving benefits, including medical care. The timeframe for reporting varies from state to state. Still, some have as little as a three-day deadline for reporting your injury to your employer. The deadline to file for worker's compensation benefits also varies widely depending on the state you live in, ranging from just six months to 12 years for occupational illnesses.

Failure to report your injury or illness immediately typically results in denial or workers' compensation benefits. However, one of our worker's compensation lawyers may be able to help should you be denied because of delayed reporting. Certain circumstances can override deadlines, and we just have to identify them in your state's laws.

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  • How do I report a work-related injury to my employer?

    Competent employers should have established procedures for employees to report work-related injuries, which include providing you with a standardized report form. On this form, you will need to provide information about the event such as:

    • The date and time when you were injured
    • The location where you were injured
    • What you were doing when injured
    • The names of any witnesses to your injury
    • Whether you've already sought medical care for your injury

    That may not be all you'll need to provide but generally speaking, be as detailed as possible and be sure to get a copy of the form you filled out. Suppose your employer does not provide you with a form. In that case, you can get one online from your state's workers' compensation agency website or contact one of our workers' comp attorneys for help.

  • What's the next step after reporting my injury or illness to my employer?

    After you report your injury, you should seek out medical care as soon as you can. State laws and regulations will dictate which doctor you have to see. Many employers will have a preselected physician for workers' compensation claims. In some states, like California, you may have had the option to declare a predesignated doctor in the case of a work-related injury. Still, many states allow the employer to choose the doctor until specific criteria are met. You may be entitled to choose your physician freely in other states.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    In all cases, it's critical to follow your doctor's orders to the letter. If you deviate from their advice and restrictions, you could jeopardize your ability to receive benefits. It's also crucial to inform the doctor that you were injured on the job with as much detail as possible. This could impact what kind of restrictions they'll give you. If you don't explain your job duties fully, the doctor may say you are able to carry out duties that could cause you undue pain and delay your recovery. 

  • What are the most common injuries at work?

    Slips, trips, and fall - The workplace can be a dangerous place no matter what role you perform. It's easy to slip, trip, or fall on an oily, wet, or icy floor. Likewise, if you work in the construction industry, it's a common occurrence to fall off a ladder or roof. Poor lighting and clutter can also lead to a painful spill in a warehouse setting.

    Overexertion and muscle strains - Some jobs are labor-intensive, which can lead to long-term pain and loss of productivity over time. An occupational injury like this can be caused by many things such as repetitive movements from typing or working on a production line, the lifting of heavy objects, and even pushing around dollies.

    Falling equipment or objects - Working around heavy equipment or in a warehouse leaves lots of room for injuries to occur. Some of these injuries can be severe, like loss of limbs or traumatic head injuries. Poorly operated machinery can result in dropped loads, and falling tools or other materials can cause serious harm to workers.

    Crashes and collisions - Commercial drivers are the backbone of our supply chain, but it's also a dangerous industry. Workers can be run over by forklifts loading cargo, or they can be hit by another commercial driver's vehicle, which often has deadly consequences. 

    Exposure to dangerous chemicals or environments - Working around chemicals leaves workers vulnerable to injuries to their eyes, skin, and respiratory systems. Long-term exposure can lead to debilitating lifelong illnesses.

    Fire and explosions - Some jobs are more hazardous than others. When workers work around chemicals that can ignite, they can be at risk for burns, respiratory damage, disfigurement, and even death. In the case of an explosion, even if the worker is not hurt in the primary blast, they may be injured by flying debris.

  • What if I was injured at work then fired?

    Unfortunately, there are some circumstances under which you can be legally fired in an at-will state after being injured on the job. Here is a list of those circumstances:

    • Your doctor released you for light-duty work, but the employer has no such work
    • Your injury requires refitting of a workspace to accommodate your disability, but this would cause a financial hardship for the employer
    • You no longer have the physical capacity required to perform the job
    • Your employer doesn't like your work performance
    • You refused to report back to work after being medically cleared by your doctor
    • Your employer is a small business that cannot afford to wait for you to return to your job

    Because at-will states don't require an employee to accommodate disabled employees' disabilities, sometimes, there is little recourse unless it can be proven the employer is discriminating or firing you for retaliation or you have a contract.  

    Injury at work employer responsibilities

    An employer's primary responsibility is to provide a safe work environment. However, when an injury at work occurs, they must complete a First Report of Injury document and forward it to their workers' compensation insurance carrier. Then they must work with their carrier during the investigation process. When the worker can physically return to the workplace, they must make sure the worker is welcomed and not penalized or fired for filing a workers' comp claim.

  • When to contact an attorney for a workers' comp claim

    So, at this point, we're well past answering the question, "What is it called when you get hurt at work?" — now you're not sure if you need an attorney. Filing a claim is typically a straightforward process, but you may be shocked when your claim comes back denied. This is the time to lawyer up with our expert workers' comp attorneys. A significant number of claims are denied each year in an effort to avoid fraud. Still, when you have a legitimate claim, it's critical to have legal representation so you can get the benefits you need and deserve.

    Our lawyers will work with you to gather all your evidence, like medical records and witness testimony, to build a strong case. We represent you in court and throughout all negotiations. We can also put an end to any stall tactics your employer may use to avoid payment. Our lawyers help to make sure you get the full value of your settlement so you can move forward in your life. With over 30 years of experience, Morgan & Morgan has grown to be one of the country's largest and most powerful law firms. But that doesn't stop us from caring about regular people. 

    To us, every case counts because every case has a story behind it, often involving emotions, hardships, and workers that have families that depend on them. We understand, and we care. We'll fight hard to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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