Injured at Work? What You Need to Know

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Creative Commons License photo credit: akeg

 

When you’re hurt at work, your first instinct may be to call your doctor. Don’t make that call yet. As soon as you’re injured or notice pain that may be caused by your job, tell your supervisor. According to state regulations, companies that hire a certain number of people must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover work-related injuries or illnesses. The catch is that in some states, you must be evaluated by your company’s doctor. It’s important to know that even if you’re required to see a specific doctor, you have the right to medical treatment and financial compensation for your losses. You also have the legal right not to be threatened, demoted or fired because of a work-related injury.

What Is a Work-Related Injury?
A work-related injury includes bodily harm that occurs while you’re performing your job. This definition gets murky if you’re away from the workplace when the injury occurs, if you’re not working safely or if you’re on the job but you’re not actually working. If you smash your finger at your company’s bowling tournament, workers’ compensation may cover treatment because the injury happened at a company event. If you’re kickboxing with your co-worker in your cubicle and you break your foot, workers’ compensation may not cover your medical care, unless kickboxing is an approved practice in your workplace.

What Should I Do If I’m Hurt?
As soon as you’re hurt at work, no matter what the circumstances, tell your supervisor. He or she should refer you to the company’s workers’ compensation doctor and start the process of filing an insurance claim. If you seek emergency treatment for a severe injury, your insurer will usually foot the bill for the ER, even if it’s not an authorized facility.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation coverage varies from one state to another, but benefits typically include medical evaluation and treatment, prescription medications, surgery, hospital care and rehabilitation. Your benefits also cover a percentage of your lost wages if your injury prevents you from working. If an injury is fatal, your immediate family may receive compensation to replace your income.

What If My Boss Won’t Help Me?
Unfortunately, collecting your rightful workers’ compensation benefits is not always easy. Your boss may be helpful at first, then suddenly go ballistic when you request time off for physical therapy. If your boss threatens to cut your hours, tries to fire you or interferes with your medical care in any way, tell your workers’ compensation claims representative. If you can’t get help from your claims representative or case manager, contact a personal injury attorney to talk about your rights.

Injuries don’t always present themselves right away. You may feel a pull in your back as you’re lifting a box, but the pain doesn’t kick in until later that night. You may notice numbness or burning in your wrists when you’re typing, but you’ve lived with the discomfort for months. Over time, these injuries can lead to disability if they’re left untreated. Talk with your employer immediately about seeing an authorized doctor.
Bonnie Ashcroft is a financial consultant for medium to large corporations. One thing Bonnie says to keep in mind is that if you have orders from government agencies, it can positively affect the purchase order factoring and allow you a better loan-to-value rate.

Posted by on Sep 3 2011. Filed under Insurance, Personal Injury. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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