Workplace Injuries: What Rights do I Have?
No matter what industry you work in, there are risks associated with performing the duties of your job. However, in positions that require more physical and manual labor, the risks of injury are even higher. However, if you get hurt on the job, enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you understand the legal system and guide your case.
Employers and safety on the job
In every state, employers are required to provide their employees with a reasonably healthy and safe work environment. When employers fail to do this, employees are at a higher risk of being injured.
However, even if employers have taken every reasonable safety precaution that they can, injuries can still occur. These injuries can range from broken bones to the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, to psychological injuries.
Notifying the employer about your injury
If you are injured while on the job, the most important way to protect the legal rights you have as a worker is to report the injury to your employer. Different states have different deadlines for reporting a work-related injury to an employer; in Michigan, you must notify your employer within 90 days of the injury occurring. You can give oral notice to your employer, but you should also ask to fill out a company accident report.
If your employer does not provide you with the paperwork for an accident report, make one yourself. Explain the details of when, how, and where you were injured, and describe the nature and extent of your injury. Keep a copy of this report for your records and give a copy to your employer, so it is clear that you took this precaution.
Making a workers’ compensation benefits claim
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for making a workers’ compensation claim is two years after the injury for which you are claiming compensation occurred. This claim can be made orally, but it is better idea to ask for your workers’ comp benefits in writing. You can do this by sending your employer a certified letter asking for reimbursement for medical treatment or loss of wages that are relevant to your injury.
You should request that your employer notifies their workers’ compensation insurance carrier and ask them to provide you with a claim number. Even if you may feel uncomfortable asking this of your employer, it is key to remember that you cannot be discharged or discriminated against in any way due to your asking for workers’ compensation benefits.
What are my rights?
Rights that workers have include the following:
- The right to pursue medical treatment and see a doctor
- The right to return to your job if you are released by your doctor to return to work
- The right to file a claim for your work-related illness or injury in either the state industrial court or in workers’ compensation court
- The right to disability compensation if you are unable to return to work in a temporary or even permanent capacity
- The right to appeal most decisions by either your employer, your employer’s insurance company, or the state workers’ compensation court
You have these rights to act as a worker, but you also have the right to refuse certain offers or requests, such as saying no if your employer encourages you to pay for your medical treatment with your health insurance, or saying no if your employer offers you an incentive to dissuade you from filing a workers’ comp claim.
If you have been injured in the workplace and are unsure how to proceed with filing a claim, contact the experts at Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. on 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) to book a free consultation today. Our law firm never charges a fee unless a recovery is made.