Employers have a duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment for their employees. Failure to provide safety for their workers can result in mild to severe injury, such as broken bones, occupational illnesses, aggravations of pre-existing conditions, or psychological injuries.
Sometimes, a worker can be injured or become ill even if every precaution was taken to make the work environment safe. However, there are systems in place that help workers when they sustain work-related injuries.
If you are injured on the job, the first thing you will want to do is protect your rights. to do this, you should immediately report your injury to your employer, because it is usually required by the state that you report your injury within a specified time limit. Though you may not be able to report your injury right away, depending on your circumstance, it is recommended that you notify your employer as soon as possible.
Next, you should file a claim with your state’s workers’ compensation court. You should have both the court and your employer formally notified about your injury. Workers have the same general rights in every state:
- You have the right to file a claim for your injury or illness in workers compensation court, or the state industrial court
- You have the right to see a doctor and to receive medical treatment
- You have the right to return to your job if you are released to return to work by your physician
- You have the right to disability compensation if you are unable to return to work because of your injury or illness, for a period of time or indefinitely
- If you disagree with any decision by your employer, the employer’s insurance company, or the workers’ compensation court, you generally have the right to appeal that decision
- You have the right to be represented by a lawyer throughout the process
It is important for workers to understand that they have the right to take action and to refuse requests. For instance, if your employer encourages you to use your own health insurance for your medical treatment, you have the right to refuse. Also, if your employer attempts to persuade you to not file a workers’ compensation claim, you can say no.
Workers always have the right to pursue workers’ compensation without harassment from their employer. It is illegal for your boss to harass you or otherwise treat you differently because you file a claim for workers’ compensation, and your employer could be penalized for it.