Workplace injuries can cause significant upheaval in a person’s life. For one, you will have to deal with treating the injury you have sustained, whether physical or mental.
Additionally, severe injuries may hamper your ability to complete your job going forward.
This, in turn, can severely affect your earning power. Even if you don’t suffer a long-term injury, you will still have medical bills and lost wages that you will need to cover.
That’s where workers’ compensation comes in.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that all employers are legally required to take out for the benefit of each of their employees. The insurance payment goes to the employee if they are injured or develop an illness at work. This payment is meant to cover:
- Your medical expenses
- The cost of rehabilitation, if necessary
How Do You Submit a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you’ve been injured at work, the next step is to make a worker’s compensation claim. The procedure may differ a little based on your specific circumstances. However, in general, you will have to follow this process:
- Get Medical Treatment: Seek treatment from your medical provider for your injury or illness, and make sure that they also provide you with a signed workers compensation medical certificate. This will be important if you need to prove the validity of your claim.
- Speak to Your Employer: Let your employer know that you have been injured while at work. This should be done as soon as possible and can be done in person, over email, or in writing.
- Know Your Rights: Once informed of your injury, your employer must inform you of your right to make a workers’ compensation claim. They must do this within 14 days of being notified of the injury. Additionally, they must also inform their insurer about your injury within three working days. If your employer has not provided you with these details within the specified time period, head over here to understand what your next steps should be.
- Get and Complete a Workers Compensation Claim Form: This is a requirement for filing a claim. You can either download this form from the Internet or ask for one from your employer. If you choose the latter option, keep in mind that your employer is legally obligated to provide it to you and cannot obstruct your request. You should ideally obtain and complete this form within six months of the date of your injury. Additionally, if you choose to leave your employment for any reason following your injury, it must be filled in and submitted before you leave. Once the form is filled in, it should be turned over to your employer, along with the signed workers’ compensation medical certificate you obtained from your doctor. You can submit the form via post or in person.
Hiring a Lawyer
In some cases, you may also want to hire a lawyer to help you through the claims process. While legal advice is usually not required for smaller injuries – such as a sprain or a bruise – there are several situations in which a solicitor can be beneficial.
If you’re wondering whether you would benefit from hiring a lawyer to help you with your workers’ compensation claim, here are some instances in which it could be helpful:
- Your employer or their insurance carrier is denying your claim by arguing that the injury was not a result of work conditions. This is often the case if long-term exposure to certain materials at work sites results in the development of an illness or disease.
- You have suffered a significant disability that will prevent you from returning to work. In such cases, you may be eligible for a lump sum payment as compensation. At the same time, these situations are the most expensive for the insurance carrier to payout, which means that they are also the most likely to be contested.
- You have a pre-existing condition. In this situation, there is a chance that your employer and the insurance company can blame your injury on that condition, and having a lawyer to support you can be helpful.
- You’re filing a claim for a deceased family member. If you are a dependent of that family member, there is a chance that you are entitled to compensation and can file a claim on their behalf. While the process is relatively similar to the one you would follow when filing a claim for yourself, having a lawyer by your side can be extremely helpful as you navigate both the legal ins and outs and your own bereavement at the same time.
If you are injured or fall sick due to work conditions, workers’ compensation is your legal right. While filing a claim may seem intimidating, don’t forget that you’re in the right for doing so and that you can negotiate for a fairer payment if necessary.