Most of the time on the job, all goes well during your day. However, there are times when accidents may result, leaving you injured and unable to work for a period of time. When this happens, the logical thing to do is file a workers’ compensation claim for your damages. However, due to the complexities associated with this process, many people choose not to do so. In addition, many workers who try to pursue these claims face various types of retaliation from their employer, such as demotion, reduction in pay or hours, and even threats of being fired. If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, here are five signs this is the right decision.
The Injury Was Your Fault
Unfortunately, many workers who are injured on the job fail to file a workers’ compensation claim because they know the accident was their fault. However, even if you cause your accident at work, you can still file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit where proving fault is the key to winning a case, your injuries alone are enough to entitle you to workers’ compensation.
You Were Injured Off-Site
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, it does not matter if you were injured at your actual work site or elsewhere. As long as you were performing work-related tasks and duties when injured, you are allowed to file a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if your boss asked you to run an errand to pick up work-related supplies and you were injured in a car accident, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and any vocational rehabilitation you may need before returning to work.
Your Employer Threatens You
In many cases where an injured employee informs the employer of their intention to file a workers’ compensation claim, the results are not what they expected. Time after time, employers will attempt to discourage employees from filing these claims, thinking it will reflect poorly on them. In addition, workers’ comp claims often lead to higher insurance rates for employers, so they have a financial incentive to keep these claims from being filed. Nevertheless, if your employer threatens you in any way upon your request to file a workers’ comp claim, do not let this stop you. Instead, it is usually best to schedule a consultation with an attorney who specializes in workers’ comp cases. By doing so, your employer will know your legal rights are being protected, and any retaliatory actions they take against you while your case plays out will result in dire consequences for them and the company.
You Have Serious Injuries
If your work-related accident led to serious injuries, it is best to file a claim to recoup your losses. Even if you initially believe you are not injured or have only minor injuries, it is best to file the paperwork for the claim. In many instances, such injuries as whiplash, concussions, back injuries, or traumatic brain injuries may not display symptoms initially, but may do so after several days. Therefore, rather than risk losing out on the ability to file a workers’ comp claim due to missed deadlines, it is best to err on the side of caution and pursue the matter. By doing so, you will have a greater chance of having medical expenses paid and receiving compensation for lost wages until you are able to return to work.
You are Considering a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are injured on the job, especially through no fault of your own, you should not only file a workers’ compensation claim, but also consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. While in normal circumstances filing a workers’ comp claim forfeits your right to sue your employer, there are exceptions. For example, your injuries may have been caused not by your employer directly, but instead the owner of the building. Thus, if you fell on a stairwell due to loose handrails that were the maintenance responsibility of the building’s owner, you would be suing them rather than your boss. By doing so, you could receive compensation for pain and suffering, in addition to medical expenses and lost wages.