It is really true that you never know when you will get hurt while you are working because accidents can happen at any time. If you do get injured at work, it pays to be prepared beforehand so that you will know what to do and who to notify so you get the right medical treatment. You might also have to bring a case against anyone who is at fault in the personal injury incident.
Here are the steps you need to take should you suffer a personal injury while you are at work:
Report Your Personal Injuries To Your Employer
You might doubt that your employer will reply positively if you report a personal injury incurred while on duty. However, most of the US states do require an employee to report a personal injury to their employer within a definite time frame. This means reporting it within the same work day or within a few days from the time it occurred, depending on which state you were working in at the time.
Seek Medical Treatment For Your Personal Injuries
Sometimes, this will take precedence over reporting the incident to your employer because the personal injuries could be life-threatening. Be sure to get a medical report from the clinic or hospital where you were given medical attention–this will come in handy if you need to file a lawsuit.
Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
When you have reported the accident to your employer but have not received a favorable response, that would be a good time to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer. This way, you’re exercising and protecting your legal rights by seeking compensation for the injury you sustained so you can afford medical treatment.
This would be the right opportunity to ask good lawyer questions to be informed about the way the process works. You should also ask your lawyer if your case falls under a personal injury lawsuit or a worker’s compensation lawsuit. This will depend on the nature of the personal injury, and where and how it happened.
File A Lawsuit
Although all employers want to protect their business from illegal claims of personal injury, you should make it a point to file a case before a workers’ compensation court in the state where the personal injuries were incurred if your employer doesn’t want to recognize your legal rights. Explain your case to your lawyer and get their opinion before you file the lawsuit to ensure that every document needed is in order. Sometimes, it may be preferable to file the lawsuit before the state industrial court instead.
Check If Other Parties Are At Fault Too
Sometimes, the accident at work does not necessarily fall under the liability of your employer if there are third parties who are more liable because of a defective product sold or poor service rendered. Your lawyer will assist you in determining who is actually at fault so that you can file a case against the right people.
Check If Your Employer Has Insurance
If you did suffer a personal injury at work, you should check with your employer to see if they have general liability insurance. This kind of insurance is specifically designed to protect the business from personal injury claims. Since you suffered the personal injury in the workplace, the insurance may cover the nature and cost of your personal injuries and related medical expenses.
Practice The “Right To Refuse” Option
If the employer or a third party deemed liable offers a settlement value that is way below what is mandated by law or even below the cost of the medical treatment you have to get for your personal injuries, you have the “right to refuse”. This means that you are not required to accept any settlements if the law is on your side for this case.
Document Any Actions To Harass Or Intimidate You
There are cases where the party that is deemed liable, such as your employer or a third party, may initiate actions to harass or intimidate the injured employee so that there won’t be any case filed. If this happens to you, ask your lawyer to assist you in documenting the harassment or intimidation so you can report this to the court during the hearing.
It is always a good idea to seek the right form of legal assistance when you suffer from personal injuries at work. You need a personal injury lawyer if you want to file a claim, so that you will know how the legal process works. Check carefully if you are not sure who is at fault before you file a lawsuit.
Also check if your employer has general liability insurance because your personal injuries might be covered if the injuries were sustained while on duty. Though the legal process will require proper documentation, don’t get tired of following up your claim, especially if you are sure who is at fault.
Interesting related article: “What is an Occupational Accident?“