Do you have a friend, family member or co-worker who has been hurt on the job as a result of a workers' comp accident? If so then you or your colleague may be entitled to benefits for lost wages and medical treatment, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. It is extremely important that you immediately hire a lawyer to protect your rights following a work related injury. Do not make the mistake of trying to navigate the workers' comp accident system by yourself. The majority of people who have suffered an on-the-job injury and try to handle their own claim will end up losing practically everything — their job, home, income and health — by the time they finally wise up and hire a lawyer. The following is some general information, tips and guidelines that you should keep handy if you are hurt due and plan to make workers' comp claim.
A serious workers' comp accident can take several forms. The most common types of accidents are:
- Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents
- Sprains and strains
- Repetitive motion injuries from lifting and reaching, pushing and pulling
- Falls from scaffolding
- Falling objects
- Use of defective or malfunctioning work equipment
- Back, neck and spinal cord injuries
- Closed-head, brain and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Injuries to joints
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Bulging disks
- Herniated disks
- Fractures and broken bones
- Motor vehicle accident injuries
- Exposure to hazardous substances/chemicals
- Musculoskeletal diseases
- Respiratory diseases caused by exposure to pathogens
- Hearing loss
- Asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer and asbestosis
A workers' comp accident can take place in several places. The most common places are:
- Construction sites
- Inland and offshore gas installations
- Shipping and receiving warehouses
- Industrial plants
- Law enforcement agencies
- Commercial and residential moving/delivery jobs
- Assembly lines
- Manufacturing lines
- Mechanic shops
A workers' comp accident can be caused by several common hazards. The most common reasons which produce a workers' comp accident are:
- Obstructed or slippery floors, walkways and ground surfaces
- Spilled liquids
- Improper storage of merchandise or supplies such as chemicals or cleaning material
- Burn hazards such as grease, boiling water, electrical equipment, open flames, explosions
- Using a cellphone while driving
- Sharp instruments
- Cluttered office space
- Staring at the computer screen for too long
- Repetitive motions such as typing, cutting, assembling, etc.
If you are injured on the job, you need to know what to do so that your claim is properly reported and filed. There are many deadlines with which you need to be familiar. Not knowing the workers' comp accident deadlines may cause you to permanently forfeit your entitlement to benefits for lost wages and medical treatment. Contact a lawyer familiar with workers' comp deadlines, reporting and filing procedures to ensure that your workers' comp claim gets off to a successful start. Generally, the following are highly important things to remember immediately after an accident:
- You must report your workers' comp accident immediately. The deadline to report your workers' Comp accident is 30 days.
- Hire a lawyer to represent and guide you through the system immediately following your workers' comp accident.
- Do not agree to a recorded statement regarding your workers' comp accident. The insurance company is not your friend; it is trying to find reasons to deny that you suffered a workers' comp accident.
- You must report your workers' comp accident to someone in a supervisory capacity.
- You should seek or request immediate medical treatment for your workers' comp accident no matter how minor your injury may seem.
- You should take notes regarding to whom you reported your workers' comp accident, what time you reported your accident, persons that witnessed your the accident, how your accident occurred, the body parts affected by your accident, any doctors you see for your accident and any lost time from work due to your accident.
- You should insist on exercising your right to choose your own doctor to treat you for your accident.
- You should not sign any documents pertaining to your accident without thoroughly reviewing the document. Preferably, you should not sign anything until you have consulted with a lawyer regarding your workers' comp accident.
All of the preceding information will ensure that your workers' comp accident is accepted and paid for by the insurance company. The most important thing to take away from this article is that you should hire a lawyer immediately if you are involved in an on-the-job accident. People expect their employer and the insurance company to do the right thing during a workers' comp claim. However, when it comes to an employer's bottom line, it is every man for himself. Make no mistake about it: your workers' comp accident costs your employer and its insurance company money. It does not matter how long you have been on the job, how loyal an employee you are or how hard working you are; the employer and the insurance company do not have your best interest at heart following an on-the-job accident. If you do not believe it, go ahead and try to handle your workers' comp accident yourself. If you are smart, however, you will follow the advice in this article and hire a lawyer right away.