Accidents happen in the work place often in the US, and sometimes it can be due to an unsafe job. However, if you are injured on the job, what are the next steps you can take?
Firstly, you will want to receive medical treatment as soon as possible following the injury. Unless you need treatment urgently, you will want to find a health care provider that has been authorized by your state’s workers’ compensation board. This is especially important if your employer participates in a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) or an ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) program.
Similarly, depending on when you report your injury and if you are eligible, a workers’ compensation insurance firm might designate a doctor for you. The reason you won’t be able to go to your usual doctor is because under the law your employer can be liable for your medical bills in many circumstances.
Notify Your Employer
Within thirty days or less, preferably as soon as possible, notify your employer of the injury. This should be done in writing as to be documented. If you wait too long, you might not be eligible for workers’ compensation. If it’s an occupational disease you develop in the long term after working in a particular place, you will have to notify the employer no later than two years after you have been disabled. That or within two years of finding out you have the disease or condition.
Inform the Workers’ Compensation Board
In certain states such as Texas for example, you will have to file an employee claim for compensation for a work related injury or occupational disease form to the state department of insurance within a year. As such, check with your state workers’ compensation department to see what steps to take following an injury that are specific to your state.
Consult Your State Injured Employee Counsel
If you’re having trouble obtaining or filing your claim, or an insurance company is denying it, seek the assistance of an attorney. You have the right to hire one and will have someone with legal expertise to dispute your case on your behalf.
Much of the time insurance companies will also settle over entering into a lawsuit, which could be more costly for them if. That’s because they will have to hire attorneys themselves and get involved in what could be a long drawn out court battle that might result in an settlement that is even more unfavorable than now. As such, hiring an attorney can send the message that you’re ready to go down that road, one they would much rather avoid.
If cost is an issue, check with your state government. Some states offer injured employee counsel to give those seeking workers compensation free assistance.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
Much of the time, you can consider suing an employer depending on the nature of your injury. Key instances in which you could take the case to civil court with a personal injury lawyer would be instances in which your injury was a result of a defective product, toxic substance, negligence by your employer, or if your employer does not provide workers’ compensation insurance. To effectively determine if you have grounds for a civil case, consult a personal injury attorney in your area. Many offer free consultations to determine if you have a case or not.
Again there’s no reason to worry about cost as many personal injury lawyers obtain payment by keeping a percentage of what you are awarded.
WT Johnson is a personal injury law firm in Dallas, Texas. The team at WT provides free consultations to determine that those who are injured on the job receive fair and just compensation.