Employers have to provide a safe working environment for their employees. If they fail to do so and, due to their negligence, an employee sustains a work-related injury, that employee is entitled to workers’ compensation. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an injury is considered work-related if an event in a work environment caused the harm, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a payment made to employees who were injured or disabled by a work-related accident, especially one that wasn’t their fault. Different states have different ways through which they handle workers’ compensation. Also, the statutes of limitations vary from state to state, and it’s usually between 1 – 3 years. Those who fail to file their claim on time would lose their right to chase legal actions for the injury they’ve sustained.
In every state, the law requires employers to protect their employees with workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance should cover medical bills, lost wages, and other financial inconveniences caused by the injury. For cases where the affected lost their lives, the workers’ compensation would go to their families.
If you’ve been affected by a job-related accident and want to file a claim, here are some things you should know.
- The first thing to do is to report the accident. Your employer should be aware that such an accident has occurred. This should be a notification and not an official statement.
- Take notes of everything you remember about the accident: the working conditions at the time of the event, your activity at the time of the event, information about any witnesses, the severity of your injury – as many details of the accident as you can gather. This will help you get fair compensation.
- Consult your personal injury attorneys before you make any official statement. The attorney’s advice would protect you from being cheated of your deserved compensation.
How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Everyone
Most employers are quick to settle these cases out of court. It saves both parties from paying legal fees to process the trial. It also protects the company from the bad publicity such situations can bring if they drag for too long. So, the workers’ compensation bargain benefits both the employer and the employee. Employers end up paying less because if they fought the case in court and lost, the fee for a negligence lawsuit will be much higher than the out of court settlement. The employee, on the other hand, is protected from major financial losses caused by the injuries.
However, there are some situations where, despite being injured, you may not qualify for workers’ compensation. Here are some of them:
- You’re not eligible for workers’ compensation. This applies to undocumented workers, seasonal workers, or independent contractors.
- At the time of injury, you were carrying out illegal activity on company grounds.
- You failed to report the injury to your employer.
- The statute of limitations expired before you filed your claim.
Work-related accidents can badly affect the lives of workers and those who depend on them. Aside from the physical harm, it can batter them emotionally and financially too. Fair compensation should be given to those who have been injured or disabled by a job-related accident.