In 2018, there were 2.8 million non fatal workplace injuries in the United States. In every state in America, employers are bound by law to ensure that all workers are provided with a safe environment at work. Despite this, in 2018, there were 2.8 million non fatal workplace injuries in the United States. There are a number of reasons why injuries happen at work and the consequences can range in severity from a minor graze to a fatal incident. Whilst states have different standards with regard to assisting workers after an injury, many workers’ rights are relatively universal across the nation.
So what are those legal rights?
The Right to Make a Claim without Employer Interference
Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that workers have the right to file a claim without the threat of repercussions from their employer. In every state in the US this is a pivotal right and no worker should feel intimidated by their employer or worried about losing their job if they have been injured at work and wish to seek compensation. It is illegal for employers to threaten injured employees or even to dissuade employees from making a claim by offering some financial bonus.
The Right to Legal Representation
Every worker has the right to file a claim for their injury or illness in the appropriate court. Sound legal representation is very important and in all cases you are entitled to a lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to ensure that you get the full compensation that you are entitled to. As the folks at The Champion Firm state, an accident lawyer’s “number one goal is to get the best result possible, whether that means settling the case or going to trial.” If the court finds against you, or if you are unsatisfied with the compensation awarded, you generally have the right to appeal the court’s decision.
The Right to Obtain Medical Treatment and possible Disability Compensation
If you have been injured at work you have the absolute right to obtain any and all medical treatment necessary. You have the right to see a doctor and to pursue medical treatment. All medical bills and injury related costs will ultimately be settled during the court proceedings so do not allow yourself to feel pressured by an employer who is refusing to pay for treatment. If your injuries are too severe or debilitating for you to return to work in the short-term or indeed in the long term, then some form of disability benefit or compensation should be sought. On the other hand, if your doctor or medical provider affirms that you are fit to work again, you have the absolute right to return to your place of employment without prejudice or harassment.
What should you do when you sustain an injury at work?
It is very important after you sustain an injury that you take the correct steps to ensure that your workers rights are protected. You should report any injury or work related illness to your employer or supervisor at the soonest possible time so that the incident can be recorded in the accident book. The law in many states requires that injuries at work must be reported as soon as possible and if they are not it could affect your claim at a later time. It is often worth naming colleagues in the report who witnessed or were involved in the incident as their testimony could be useful to your case. After reporting your injury, you should then seek medical attention at the earliest possible moment, and then consider your compensation claim and legal options.
What should you do if your injury was caused by another employee or a third party?
Whilst most work related injury claims are settled in the workers’ compensation court, there may be an incident where you are injured by a fellow employee or as the result of third party negligence or misaction which must be settled in a civil claims court. The initial process after sustaining injuries in these cases should be the same; report the incident, seek medical attention and then review your next options. Again, legal representation will be key if you decide to make a claim as an experienced lawyer will be able to ensure you have the best chance at a positive outcome.
Injuries at work and the resulting consequences can cause a great deal of stress and pain, but the most important thing is to know and exercise your rights. Do not let anyone try to intimidate you and follow the correct procedures to ensure that you get the help and compensation that you are entitled to.