According to OSHA, over 4,600 workers died on the job in 2014. Even though 20 percent of these occurred in the construction sector, employees in many industries experience accidents and injuries. This especially includes utility, steel, trucking and manufacturing workers. Below explains factors that may affect your compensation eligibility and benefits. It also explains the reasons why injured employees need the professional help of workers’ compensation lawyers.
The Type of Injury
Abrupt accidents with obvious injuries, such as a broken limb or chemical burn, are often approved by the state’s workers’ compensation department without any problems. However, injuries that occur from repetitive movements and long-term exposure can delay the workers’ compensation claims approval process. For example, a manual laborer who injures their back from constant lifting may face an uphill battle when it comes to proving their injury occurred at work. There may be limited proof that the employee was injured at a specific time and place at work. This is why workers who are injured from chronic exposure or movements need to report it as soon as they are aware of it. Unscrupulous employers may cast doubt by questioning if the employee was actually injured at home.
Where and When the Accident Happens
When employees are injured on the job, it is usually on-site while performing assigned duties. Sometimes employees are injured off-site, such as an employee being involved in a car accident while picking up mail or parts. Employees who are driving a company vehicle and following their supervisors’ instructions will likely not experience any problems with workers’ compensation eligibility. However, supervisors may verbally require employees who are driving their personal vehicles on their lunches to perform certain tasks. Injuries and accidents that occur in this scenario will likely be challenged. A workers’ compensation lawyer may be needed to enforce your legal rights, especially for injuries that involve extended treatments, harmful medications, long recovery periods and differing doctor’s opinions.
Inconsistent Health Care Providers
Research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals that the way medical care treatment is provided directly impacts workers’ compensation claims. That is, the state’s workers’ compensation agency depends on medical reports from health care providers. This means that the attending doctor who examines the injured worker may have a tremendous impact on the recommended treatment plan and release to work guidelines. This is why many companies encourage or require injured employees to only use the services of designated clinics who they have a preexisting relationship with. This practice is illegal or discouraged in many states. Clinical doctors who are sympathetic to the employer may provide preferential treatment.
Lack of Legal Knowledge
Employees should know their legal rights when they are injured at work. This will empower them with confidence and knowledge. Injured workers have the right to seek medical treatment, file an injury or illness claim and receive disability compensation if warranted. Injured workers may be able to sue for additional compensation if the claim involves employer negligence or unethical practices. A personal injury lawsuit will require the expertise of a workers’ compensation lawyer. Keep in mind that the cornerstone of all legal matters depends on concise and accurate documentation. Employers and health care providers will have their own accident reports that must be filled out, but consider documenting every aspect of the accident and every communication exchange.
Any workers’ compensation claim that triggers resistance from the assigned government agency or retaliation from employers will need professional legal assistance. Certain employers want to avoid higher workers’ compensation insurance rates, so they may challenge claims and even attempt to convince the workers’ compensation investigator that the accident never happened. Contact us so we can enforce your workers’ compensation rights and help you earn your benefits.