I fell off a ladder at work. What are my rights?
If you are injured at work, your employer is required to provide certain compensation. However, you do have the responsibility to appropriately document the circumstances that led to your injury, as well as diagnosis and required medical care. Even if your employer discourages you from filing a claim, please remember that you have the legal right to do so if you’ve been hurt in an accident at work.
The first step when you are injured in an accident at work is to seek medical care immediately. If it’s an emergency situation, go to the nearest hospital. However, if your injuries are not critical, you may be required to see a workers compensation doctor that is authorized by your employer. Check with your human resources department to find out their protocol for work injuries. Your employer is required to foot the bill for any diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as transportation by ambulance if needed.
In addition to seeking medical help, you must also notify your supervisor about the injury as soon as possible in writing. This notification should include information about how the accident occurred and the extent of your injuries, including any doctor’s report.
While rules vary by state, in most states you must notify your employer within a few days to be eligible to file for workers compensation. The next step is to file a worker’s compensation claim in your state. There are certain rights that are upheld in most states, even where the laws are different. These include the right to file a claim; the right to see a doctor and pursue medical treatment; the right to return to your job if and when you are released to do so by your physician; the right to disability compensation if you are unable to return to work because of your injury; the right to appeal if you are unhappy with the results of your claim; and the right to be represented by an attorney throughout the process.
Retaining a lawyer can help you navigate what can sometimes be an extensive and complicated process, as well as ensure that you receive the compensation to which you’re entitled by law.