Injury At Work Law By State
Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance that compensates wages and medical benefits for employees who are injured at work, in exchange for the employee giving up the right to sue the employer for negligence.
If you are employed by a private company and you sustain an injury at work, you must look to your individual state for workers’ compensation laws. Each state has different workers’ compensation laws maintained by its Division of Workplace Compensation. Check the list of workplace compensation divisions for each state and find out the injury at work laws that apply to your state.
The United States Department of Labor administers its own workers’ compensation programs to federal employees via the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).
Most employees who get an injury at work have a right to medical care and compensation for temporary or permanent disabilities. Most employers are required to subscribe to insurance for workers’ compensation. It’s important to check the laws in your state to make sure you know your rights and go about the proper procedures to receive your benefits.
Reporting an Injury at Work
Workplace injuries can be anything from a cut finger or broken limb, to chronic back pain or carpel tunnel symptoms. The injury doesn’t need to be something that happened all of a sudden, a workplace injury could also be pain that gets worse over time as a result of your workplace conditions. This could also include a disease that develops as a result of extended exposure to something at work. It’s important to report the injury or illness as soon as you feel symptoms.
1. Get Medical Attention
Notify your supervisor that you have been injured at work and get immediate medical care. No matter what state you live in, you are entitled to receive medical care for workplace injuries. You must send a request to your employer in writing of your preferred doctor. Without filing a request to your employer, you will be sent to a doctor of the company or insurance company’s choice. Keep in mind that your regular doctor will have more of an interest in getting you the care you need rather than the minimum required.
2. Report the Injury to Your Employer
Your employer may have specific reports that you need to fill out. In addition to filing an official workers’ compensation claim, you need to file a report with your employer of the injury and document all medical care within a few days of the incident. It is in your interest to gather all evidence to support your claim including medical records, statements, company policies, and description of your working conditions. This will help against the possibility of your employer trying to dispute your claim.
3. File A Workers’ Compensation Claim
Obtain and fill out an official form from your state’s workers’ compensation office. Make sure you file a workers’ comp claim as soon as possible after you’ve reported the injury to your employer. There are limits on the time you can let pass before you lose eligibility for benefits.
4. Appeal the Claim if Necessary
If your employer disputes the claim, you can appeal to the Workers Compensation Board. If that is unsuccessful, you can try to bring the case to the the Workers Compensation Administrative Law Judge. Knowing your rights, keeping records, and following the procedures to receive your benefits will make it more likely that you won’t have to go through this process. If you believe your employer is wrongfully trying to deny benefits to you, seek legal advice.