Life is already stressful as it is without having to worry about workplace injuries. We go to work to earn a living. So, when the place we go to in order to maintain financial stability in our lives becomes the reason we’re unable to provide for ourselves, our lives get turned upside down.
The injury can come with its own consequences of physical and psychological damage. As a result, labor laws have been put in place to compensate any employees who have been injured in the line of their work. Your rights after sustaining a workplace injury can be summed up as follows:
You’re Eligible for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Accidents, mishaps, and cases of negligence occur, and that’s why we have workers’ compensation laws. If you ever happen to suffer from an injury sustained on the job, you become eligible for certain benefits. Today, employers all over the world are legally required to have workers compensation insurance, with very few exceptions. Following a workplace injury, the injured workers will be eligible to claim for workers’ comp benefits, however, this means that they’re giving up their right to sue their employers for negligence.
Workers compensation benefits are awarded to the injured employee, regardless of whether or not they were at fault in the accident, partially or fully. To be eligible for the benefits, the injured person should satisfy the following criteria:
- They should be registered employees at their work. For instance, workers’ comp benefits don’t apply to freelancers or project-based contractors.
- The employer provides workers’ comp insurance. In case they don’t, they’ll be highly liable to lawsuits brought forward by injured employees.
- The injury needs to be work-related. This means that injuries sustained while working on-premises or even out-of-premises are compensated, but those sustained on a break from work due to extracurricular activities are not covered.
- The injured employee should submit the claim and inform their employer of their injury before the deadline. Each state has its own statute of limitations. If the deadline passes, their claim becomes invalid.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
If you’re eligible for a workers’ compensation, then you’ll get the following benefits after your workplace injury:
- Coverage of medical treatment expenses
- Rehabilitation coverage
- Coverage of lost wages during the treatment and rehabilitation period
- Compensation for lost future earnings in the case of permanent disabilities
- Monetary benefits for beneficiaries in case the worker dies as a result of the injury
You Can Also File a Personal Injury Claim
Workers’ compensation benefits work to ease the financial burden that comes with a workplace accident, but it does nothing for the pain and suffering that the injured worker goes through. While it’s commonly known that the only course of action for injured employees is to file a workers’ comp claim, there are some cases where they can file a personal injury claim instead. Personal injury compensation has an advantage over workers’ compensation by taking the pain and suffering, also known as general damages, into consideration.
Filing for a personal injury claim can be possible for injured employees in the following situations:
- Injury from Using Defective Products
If the employee was injured during their work as a result of handling defective products, given that they were following proper security protocols, they can file a personal injury claim against the responsible third-parties or employers. An example of this situation would be getting injured while operating heavy machinery that didn’t comply with safety standards, or not receiving proper training by the employer prior to being assigned to use it.
- Exposure to Toxic Substances
Workplace safety also covers handling any toxic chemicals or substances. If you’ve been injured as a result of being exposed to toxic substances due to your employer’s negligence, then you’re eligible to file a personal injury claim against them. You can also file a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about the lack of workplace safety. Keep in mind that these injuries may take years to manifest, allowing for a much more flexible time frame for filing claims.
Getting injured in your workplace affects your whole life. This is why it’s good to know your rights so that you won’t be suffering in vain. Generally speaking, you’re eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, and these benefits will cover the financial burden that comes with the injury. There are certain cases where you can get compensation for your pain and suffering as well, by filing a personal injury claim. No matter which course of action you take, remember that this is your legal right.