What are my legal rights if I was injured at work?
Employers are required to provide their employees with safe working conditions in a healthy environment. If an employer fails to meet this criterion, then an employee may be injured as a result. Even in the safest workplaces, accident can still occur.
To protect your rights if injured at your workplace, the first step is to report the injury to your employer. The next step is to file the claim in court which puts your employer’s insurance company on formal notice of your injury.
Your workers’ compensation rights are:
- You have the right to file a claim for your injury or illness in workers compensation court or the state industrial court
- You have the right to see a doctor and have medical treatment
- If you are released to return to work by your physician, you have the right to return to your job
- If you are unable to return to work due to your injury or illness, you have the right to some type of disability compensation
- If you disagree with any decision by your employer, their insurance company or workers’ compensation court, you have the right to appeal that decision
- You have the right to be represented by a lawyer throughout the process
Understanding your rights allows you to say no to offers like your employer encouraging you to use your own health insurance to pay for medical treatment. Also understand that it is illegal for your boss to offer you an incentive to persuade against filing a workers compensation claim. If your boss harasses you at work to make if difficult to do your job due to filing a workers compensation claim, that is also illegal.
If your injury at work was caused by the negligence of a third party, you have the right to bring a claim against that person or entity. Third party claims like this are filed in the form of civil lawsuits in state or federal courts. A civil lawsuit for a work related injury is to seek personal injury damages that are not a part of workers compensation claims. This allows you to seek compensation for pain and suffering along with medical expenses and lost wages.