Employers in every state have a legal responsibility to provide their employees with a reasonably safe and healthy work environment. There may be a case where the employer fails to fulfill this duty which may lead to an employee being injured. Employees may even get injured even when every effort has been put in to make the work place as safe as possible. A work place injury may include broken bones, aggravations of pre-existing conditions, occupational illness, and even psychological injuries. Each state has a system that helps employees that are injured at work.
Protecting Your Rights
The easiest and most important step to protect your legal rights if you are injured at work is to report your injury to the employer as soon as possible. Most state laws require that you report your injury to your employer within a certain period of time, typically the same day or within a few days of the injury. Each workplace accident and injury is different and depending on the circumstances it may not always be possible to report the injury, but it should be done as quickly as practically possible. The next important step to protect your rights is to file a claim with the workers’ compensation court or the industrial court in your state. This is important because this will put your employer, the court, and your employer’s insurance company on formal notice about the incident.
The laws regarding workers’ compensation vary from state to state. The rights that are afforded to the injured employee and the legal procedures that ensure those rights vary as well. However, the following legal rights are common across all states:
The right to see a doctor and pursue medical treatment.
The right to file a claim for your injury or illness in the workers compensation court or state court.
If you are release to return to work by the doctor, you have the right to return to your job.
If you are unable to return to work because of your injury or illness, whether permanently or even temporarily, you have the right to some type of disability compensation.
You have the right to be represented by a lawyer to make your claim.
The laws in almost all states allow you to pursue a workers’ compensation claim without the fear of reprisal or harassment from the employer. If the employer makes it difficult for you to freely exercise your rights, the penalty imposed on the employer can be severe.