How Did Your Company React After A Serious Workplace Injury?
If you have questions about your employer’s response to your injury, an attorney can help you find answers.
One of the most important responsibilities in running a business is employee health and safety. Accidents happen and injuries occur, but it’s how a company responds that often determines the next steps for the injured employee.
The Day of the Injury
If you are the injured party, your company’s response started the moment you were injured. Many large and small businesses — and particularly those in high hazard industries — have a clear, 24-hour response plan for employees and supervisors to follow when there is an accident and/or injury.
You should have had immediate medical attention and/or first aid, and transportation to the hospital if necessary.
Followup After The Injury
Your employer should also provide you with forms to take to your doctor, allowing the doctor to authorize your return to work, and noting any temporary restrictions you may have.
Some injuries — sprains, strains, neck, and back injuries — may need longer recovery periods. Your employer should be supportive of the evidence-based occupational health therapy you wish to pursue and maintain.
An employer is also responsible for filing an incident report with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which monitors workplace safety and tracks workplace accidents throughout the United States. This report — and any related documents — should be shared with management and the business owner’s insurance company. This reporting helps OSHA understand workplace accidents, where and how they occur, in an ongoing effort to prevent future accidents and injuries.
Your Right To File A Claim
Business owners are responsible for providing you with the forms necessary to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer has workers’ compensation insurance specifically for the purpose of covering claims costs for workplace injuries.
Some injured workers hesitate to file a claim because they are worried about losing their job when claiming workers’ compensation insurance benefits. You cannot be fired for this reason.
You should be receiving all the medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation you need to help you get back to work as soon as possible. Workers’ compensation insurance pays these medical care costs, as well as a percentage of lost wages, for up to three years.
It should be noted, however, that your employer is not required to maintain your health care or other benefits during your absence from work. These benefits are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance and could be a significant factor for a family if the source of family health coverage is through the injured worker.
Are You Welcomed Back?
While you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you are not guaranteed that your job will be there when you recover. Some employers may keep the job available for a period of time but have the right to fill it eventually.
Some employers may offer to bring you back to work with certain restrictions, referred to as “reasonable employment” or “favored work.” If you refuse an offer of “favored work, you may jeopardize your claim to any wage loss benefits.
Sometimes this works out fine, and sometimes it doesn’t.
If you feel that your employer is offering you a job that is not within your medical restrictions — or offering you a job that is demeaning, — you may need some help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at our law firm to ensure that your dignity is being recognized and respected, and your rights maintained.
Do You Need Help?
If you’ve been injured in your workplace, the professionals at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are ready to review your case and explain your legal rights. The initial consultation is without charge, and if we decide to work together, we will take your case on a contingent fee basis, which means we don’t receive payment until we successfully secure an adequate settlement for you.
Contact us toll-free at (866)-466-9912 or use our convenient online contact form to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation.