How Can I Navigate a Work-Related Injury?
According to a study released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 900,000 workers suffered a workplace injury in 2019 that cost them at least one day of work. Although the construction industry receives most of the media attention when it comes to workplace accidents, the fact remains you can get hurt working at any type of workplace. Even office workers are not immune from getting hurt on the job.
If you received one or more injuries while on the job, you need to know how to navigate a work-related injury.
Most injuries suffered on the job are the result of accidents. How to navigate a work-related injury requires you to possess a thorough understanding of the workers’ compensation process. Employers purchase insurance via the workers’ comp program to pay for the expenses workers have to address after an accident in the workplace that results in one or more injuries.
Although state and federal laws mandate the purchase of workers’ compensation insurance, some employers balk at paying out claims because the recording of a workplace accident by an insurance company can increase the premium paid each month by an employer.
If you suffered one or more injuries that were the result of a workplace accident, you should contact one of the workers’ compensation attorneys at Morgan & Morgan. Since 1988, we have helped clients navigate the workers’ compensation process, from seeking medical attention to filing a claim with an employer’s insurance company.
Learn more about how to navigate a work-related injury by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of our experienced workers’ comp lawyers.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Your employer must pay for workers’ compensation insurance to cover the costs associated with a work-related injury. If you get hurt on the job, you follow the process of filing a claim with your employer’s insurance company. You are not filing a claim to punish your employer for the workplace accident; your primary goal is to recover the costs of medical care and any wages lost because you cannot work.
Workers’ compensation insurance benefits employers since coverage prevents employers from having to assume legal liability for expenses. It also protects employers against the filing of a civil lawsuit. You should note that workers’ compensation insurance does not cover fighting injuries, self-inflicted injuries, psychiatric disorders, and injuries suffered while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
What Are the Most Common Types of Workplace Accidents?
Knowing how to navigate a work-related injury involves filing a persuasive claim with your employer’s insurance company. Near the top of the claim form, you find a section that asks you to describe the type of accident that caused your injury or injuries. Data compiled by Liberty Mutual from the BLS highlights the five most common types of workplace accidents.
Workers that drive a motor vehicle as a part of their job description face several factors that can cause a collision. For example, a pizza delivery driver might hit a slick patch of road, which causes the driver’s vehicle to spin out and crash into a stationary object. Construction sites are vehicle hotspots because of the high volume of heavy machinery traffic. Not all vehicle collisions while on the job are considered accidents. The negligence of another driver can lead to a vehicle collision. When that happens, the workers who received injuries while driving on company time might have a strong personal injury case against the negligent driver.
You cannot file a workers’ comp claim for a car crash that occurred while you commuted to or from work.
Slip and Fall
A slip and fall accident can happen just about anywhere. It starts outside with icy sidewalks and parking lots before you walk into your workplace. Wet floors, which are common in grocery and convenience stores, represent a frequent cause of slip and fall injuries. A slip and fall can produce significant injuries such as fractures, brain trauma, and soft tissue damage. Most slip and fall injuries at work require the filing of a workers’ comp claim, but there are instances when employer negligence created the perfect environment for a slip and fall incident.
Fall From an Elevated Injury
When someone slips and falls, they have a short drop to the floor or ground. Although the injuries can be serious, they pale in comparison to a fall from an elevated position. Warehouse, construction, and utility workers are the most vulnerable to this type of workplace accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established safety guidelines for professionals that work at elevated positions. However, a lack of workplace safety training can cause a fall from an elevated position.
If you work a physically demanding job, one of the cornerstones of the workplace safety training program is to educate workers about how to prevent overexertion. Overexertion at work frequently happens because of the incorrect way a worker pulled, pushed, held, or lifted a heavy object. Some injuries that result from overexertion do not develop symptoms right away. It might take a few days for you to feel the pain triggered by a back or spinal cord injury.
Another type of workplace injury that takes time to develop symptoms is called carpal tunnel syndrome. Professionals that work in an office can succumb to the pain triggered by a repetitive motion injury. However, you also can suffer from a repetitive motion injury if you work at a physically demanding job. A repetitive motion injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome can be difficult to prove when filing a workers’ compensation claim. An employer’s insurance company might link a repetitive motion injury to activities performed outside of the workplace.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
How to navigate a worker-related injury can overwhelm you, especially if you have never received injuries while on the job. By working with one of the workers’ compensation lawyers at Morgan & Morgan, you should understand the steps to follow, as well as the order of the steps, to file the most convincing workers’ comp claim possible.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
Before you complete a worker’s compensation claim form, you have to get your injury or injuries taken care of by a healthcare provider. Even if you feel your injuries are not serious enough to warrant a visit with your physician, the workers’ compensation process requires you to get medical care. If your doctor recommends that you should not work until your injury heals, make sure to ask for notes that document your physician’s recommendation. You also should ask your doctor to complete a form describing the prognosis for you to make a full recovery.
Let Your Employer Know
You must report the workplace accident that generated your injury or injuries to your employer as soon as possible after the accident. Your employer then creates an accident report that provides the insurance company with information detailing what transpired before, during, and after the workplace accident. If you suffer an injury with slow-developing symptoms, notify your employer as soon as the symptoms start to appear. In most states, you lose your right to file a workers’ compensation claim if you do not file the form within 30 days after the workplace accident.
Complete the Worker’s Compensation Claim Form
Your employer gives you a workers’ compensation form to fill out. Depending on the state where you live, you might have to report the claim to the state workers’ compensation board. Complete every section and make sure the information you submit is accurate. Specify the type of injury or injuries that resulted from a workplace accident, as well as describe in detail what caused the accident.
Submitting convincing evidence is the key to gaining approval for your workers’ compensation claim. Evidence comes in the form of the copies of every medical record and if possible, security camera footage that documents what transpired before, during, and after the workplace accident. The names of witnesses supporting your version of events can boost the chances of the insurance company approving your claim.
Your Employer Submits the Workers’ Compensation Claim
After you accurately complete every section of the claim form, you must hand over the paperwork to your employer for submission to your employer’s insurance company. Your physician submits your medical records, as well as a formal report detailing the extent of your injuries. Every documented medical expense should also go to your employer’s insurance company. Depending on the state where you live, you might have to submit a copy of your claim to the state workers’ compensation board.
The Insurance Company’s Decision
After receiving the required paperwork, your employer’s insurer conducts a thorough review of your claim before issuing a decision. You might have to undergo an independent medical examination to confirm the diagnosis made by your physician. If your employer’s insurance company questions the validity of your claim, the insurer conducts an investigation that includes interviewing witnesses and examining the evidence gathered and organized by you and your workers’ compensation lawyer.
Getting Back to Work
The timing of when you return to work depends on the recommendations made by your doctor. Do not allow your employer to put pressure on you to return to work before your injuries have healed. According to federal law, your employer is responsible for accommodating any workplace changes that make it easier for you to work with your injury or injuries. For example, if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, your employer can accommodate you by mixing up your daily tasks to minimize repetitive motions.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
Learning how to navigate a work-related injury starts when you contact a highly-rated workers’ compensation attorney. You want to find an experienced lawyer who specializes in handling workers’ comp cases. Your lawyer must be responsive when communicating with you to ensure you remain updated on the progress of your claim.
A workers’ compensation lawyer helps you file the right paperwork before every deadline. Some states give you just 30 days to initiate a workers’ comp claim, which is not much time to receive medical care, speak with witnesses, and organize compelling evidence. Working with a state-licensed workers’ compensation can save you a considerable amount of time.
Learn how to navigate a work-related injury by scheduling a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation lawyer at Morgan & Morgan.