What do I do after a construction or work accident?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers recorded 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses and 4,764 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2020 (which translates to a worker passing away every 111 minutes from a work-related injury).  Unfortunately, many jobs can present risks to a person’s physical and mental health, and there are times where accidents could have been prevented if not for negligence.

Statistically, the occupations in which accidents most commonly take place include fishing and hunting workers, logging workers, roofers, and construction – occupations with hard physical work. Knowing what to do after construction or workplace accident can help you ease this negative experience. The lawyers at Trent Law recommend the following series of steps.

  • Seek medical attention

An injury will almost always worsen if you decide to wait too long to treat it. Even if your injury seems minor, you never know the impact it may have on your body. Sometimes, secondary symptoms can take longer to present themselves, such as with the case of a brain injury. This is why it is vital to seek medical help right away when you’ve been in an accident. 

  • Taking note of the accident and notifying

In reporting a work injury, it’s very important to document the details of your accident. These can include the place, day, time, and manner in which it occurred. This information is important with which to inform your employer and receive compensation from your employer, insurance company, and/or the court. It’s the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs’ (OWCP) duty to protect individuals employed by private companies or local and state government agencies who have been injured on the job. 

The company or agency you work for should inform the insurance provider and the state workers’ compensation board if needed. If your injury is severe, they must report it to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Worker’s compensation insurance is mandatory in all states except Texas and Wyoming.

  • Gather information

Our personal injury lawyers at Trent Law state that valuable information for your work accident or construction accident will help make sure that you are appropriately compensated. 

Key accident information can include:

  • Witnesses: If there were witnesses during your accident, you can get their contact information.
  • Photographs or videos: Photographs and videos can give more foundation to a case. 
  • Medical records and bills: After seeking medical help, keep all of the important documents to evidence economic damages.
  • Speak to an attorney: A Workers’ Compensation attorney will fight to enforce all applicable laws.
  • Focus on recovery: Don’t forget to take care of yourself. 

Where does compensation come from?

There are many different types of benefits for workers who have been injured on the job. Many employees have Workers’ Compensation, which is “an insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job.” 

Employees have additional benefits they are entitled to, such as:

  • Medical expenses: Surgery, medicine, and doctor’s visits can be expensive, which is why Workers’ Compensation covers the costs.
  • Missed wages: Helps pay out lost income due to work-related injury.
  • Ongoing care: When an injury becomes long-term and needs more treatment.
  • Illness: Due to working conditions such as exposure to damaging or dangerous chemicals or allergens.
  • Disability: when an injury becomes more permanent and help is needed for medical bills and lost wages.
  • Funeral costs: In the event that an individual dies from a work-related accident. 

For these cases, you must file a claim within three years of the injury date or two years from the last date that you received disability pay or compensation for a medical bill. 

How are Workers’ Compensation benefits determined?

Usually, insurance companies will determine the earning benefits you receive based on how much you earned before the injury. This amounts to ⅔ of a worker’s regular income.

Does Workers’ Compensation cover COVID-19?

Depending on your state (17 states and Puerto Rico have already adopted coverage) and occupation, you may be qualified for Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 if you were exposed to the virus at your workplace. Health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, orderlies, medical transport, laboratory technicians, and hospital administrators, are the main workers suffering from risk of COVID-19. Check to see if, according to the state you live in, your occupation is eligible for COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation.

Does Workers’ Compensation have exceptions?

There are some exceptions that can keep you from being able to receive benefits.

  • If the accident happens when travelling from and to work, you aren’t eligible, unless the worker was using a company vehicle.
  • If the worker was intoxicated under alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, which contributed to the injury.
  • If the injury was caused during a fight with another coworker.

Do you need an attorney?

A Workers’ Compensation attorney will ensure that you get all of the benefits you are entitled to through Workers’ Compensation. If you have a Workers’ Compensation case and reside in Chicago, contact us at Trent Law, where we’re committed to securing every dollar you need and deserve from your personal injury case. 

Interesting Related Article: “What Is Worker’s Compensation? The Complete Guide