If you are injured in a work-related accident, you are entitled to get compensation under the workers’ compensation scheme. Every employer is required by the law to have workers’ compensation insurance to protect the employees. However, there are also other steps that you should take to get the benefits that you deserve for your injuries. Read on to learn the necessary procedures to follow after an accident at your workplace.
Report the Accident
It is essential to report the accident immediately to your supervisor. You might not feel any pain soon after the incident, but you should not be tempted to ignore it. Internal injuries can manifest later and this can make it difficult for you to claim compensation due to lack of evidence. Therefore, you must report the case soon after it occurs to your supervisor and make sure that it has been recorded in the accident log book.
Seek Medical Attention
You must seek medical attention after the accident at work. Some employers have a network of healthcare providers whom they prefer to refer their workers to in the case of workplace injuries. If you want to visit another physician, it is crucial to notify your employer first. However, you can pay additional charges if you decide to visit an independent doctor.
If possible, you need to gather evidence from the accident scene that you can use to support your claim. In some instances, the employer or insurance company can deny your worker’s compensation claim as a result of various reasons. To increase your chances of getting a fair settlement, you must have all the necessary evidence. For example, you can take photos at the accident scene and get details from other coworkers who witnessed the incident. You must write a short diary of the events that you remember when the accident occurred.
Seek Legal Advice
Under the workers’ compensation program, the workers rarely pursue a claim process like other injury cases. When you are injured at work, your manager will give you a claim form that you should complete. The document is mailed to the local worker’s compensation board to determine the settlement you should get for your injuries. However, filing a workers’ compensation claim can be complicated, though it seems straightforward. If the employer does not report your claim or it is denied, you need to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that the entire process goes smoothly.
Accept the Settlement
Under normal circumstances, the insurance company working with the employer will determine the compensation you deserve for the damages for your injuries. The insurance company will offer you the award, and if you are satisfied, you can accept it. However, your claim can be denied due to different reasons. Your employer should hand you the letter of denial stating the reasons why your claim has been rejected. A denial does not mean the end of your compensation claim journey. You can appeal the decision by the employer and the insurance company.
Appeal a Denial
Insurance companies and employers can dispute the validity of your injury claims and they pay you less than what you deserve for your injuries. In some cases, your claim can be challenged or denied due to several reasons like pre-existing medical conditions, off-the-job injuries, or untimely notification of the injury. You can request a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission if your employer or insurance company denies your injury claim.
Before scheduling a hearing, you can try mediation to resolve the impasse over your benefits. A mediator is a neutral party that will try to find a resolution before your dispute goes to hearing. If mediation fails, your case can then proceed to a hearing. This is where you can appeal the denial of your claim. If all avenues fail, you can file a lawsuit at the labor court. However, under the workers’ compensation provisions, employees are not expected to sue the employers, though it is possible. A lawsuit should come as the last resort after exhausting all possible routes available. However, you should also know that there is a deadline to file a worker’s compensation claim.
If you are injured as a result of an accident at your workplace, you are entitled to get compensation. The workers’ compensation insurance primarily aims to protect the interests of the workers in any company. There are necessary procedures that you must follow if you are injured at work in order to get the benefits that you deserve. It is important to report the accident to your supervisor and get the required medical attention. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be quite challenging, so you may need to seek legal advice from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.