When you’re injured on the job, it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed. After all, even a single missed paycheck can lead to financial ruin, especially in today’s economic landscape. With this in mind, understanding how to receive compensation for workplace injuries is key for every American worker. If you find yourself tragically injured while on the job, here’s what you should do next to ensure you receive compensation:
Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Due to My Injury?
Businesses must carry workers’ compensation insurance, sometimes referred to as workman’s comp, according to every state’s laws, and Illinois is no different. Regardless of who was at fault, workers’ compensation covers related medical costs and financial payments for employees who become ill or injured at work. But it’s not a foolproof system, and there are situations when you need a personal injury lawyer to defend your rights.
State-by-state variations exist in workers’ compensation laws. To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, certain conditions must be satisfied. Three conditions, in particular, should be met to ensure you’re guaranteed to get workers’ comp benefits post-workplace injury. Firstly, you must ensure that your workplace actually has the workers’ comp policy that the law requires (if they do not, your situation will become much more legally complex). Secondly, you must have proof that you’re employed by your employer. Lastly, you need to prove that your injuries arose due to conditions of your workplace duties and that you were not acting illegally or irresponsibly when the injury was sustained.
How is Workplace Injuries Defined?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the private sector reports millions of workplace injuries every year across the United States. These cases are often drastically different from pedestrian-involved personal injury cases. Falls, repetitive motion injuries, manual material handling, slips and falls, and automobile accidents frequently cause workplace injuries and illnesses. Unfortunately, unsafe work conditions or employer neglect often cause workers to be injured. Auto accidents involved with or that occur within work hours are often commonplace when looking at what qualifies as a workplace injury.
The types of injuries that happen are incredibly varied and can be as serious as accidental death. When this happens, the victim’s surviving family members will take their personal injury lawsuit to the next level and file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties. Asking your lawyer what your best legal option is is always highly recommended before you file a workplace-related lawsuit.
I Qualify, What Do I Do Next?
After being hurt at work, you must promptly inform your immediate supervisor. States have different criteria for filing reports. Your right to make a workers’ compensation claim may be lost if you fail to report a workplace illness or injury within the state’s prescribed time frame. Once your employer is informed, they are expected to make sure you get all the medical care you require.
Employers must also make a claim with the state workers’ compensation board and notify their insurance company. During these actions, you should be in close contact with your legal representative. They can help you avoid mistakes that may end up costing you your case and benefits in the long run, after all.
What Benefits Can I Expect from a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
All medical costs, such as doctor visits, medicines, surgeries, and durable medical equipment that are required for diagnosing and treating an employee’s occupational illness or injury, are covered by workers’ compensation. Employees who are unable to return to their prior employment are also entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. Personal injury lawsuits can even become more complex in some cases, so every lawsuit has the potential to be different from the previous one.
Employees who are unable to work are compensated for their missed payments through workers’ compensation. Usually, two-thirds of an employee’s weekly salary goes toward benefits. Disability benefits come in four different varieties: permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, temporary total disability, and temporary partial disability. In the case of wrongful deaths that occur at the workplace, death benefits may become available to the victim’s surviving family members.
Understanding Your Legal Rights as a Worker
Personal injuries or punitive damages, which an injured employee may be entitled to, are not covered by workers’ compensation. Employees who suffer workplace injuries occasionally have the option to sue in civil court for additional compensation. Therefore, hurt workers must be aware of their legal rights. If you’re ever concerned that you may be entitled to further compensation and damages, you need to have a heart-to-heart with your legal representative and get down to the truth of your case.