Workplace injuries are common almost across all industries and sectors. But, some industries like construction, oil and gas, and aviation consistently report more worker injuries and fatalities than any other. Agricultural and fishing industries also report a high injury rate, mainly because considerable manual labor is involved and rural settings do not allow quick access to medical help.
If you have been injured while at work, it is important that you are compensated for the loss that you have incurred. You must have lost days of work and income, and paid considerable amount of money for your treatment.
If the injury is severe, it will affect your long-term career prospects and earning potential. Debilitating injuries also result in loss of enjoyment, and hampers your social life.
A financial compensation may not help you get your health back, but it will help ease the financial burden on your family and bring things back on track.
If you are or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, here are a few things that you should know about obtaining a fair compensation.
1) Workers' Compensation Is Often Inadequate
If you have suffered an injury while at your job or in your workplace, you can term it as a workplace injury.
When you suffer an injury at your workplace, you are entitled to a no-fault remedy and are compensated by the employer for your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. The drawback here is that you cannot claim for noneconomic damages or all of your lost income. Note that no proof is required to prove employer liability. If you are injured in the workplace, you are automatically entitled to workers' compensation.
But, in most cases, it is not the employer alone who is responsible for the injury. Your injury may also have been caused by malfunctioning equipment, negligence of a subcontractor, or carelessness on the part of a supervisor. In such cases, you can file a third-party claim where you can claim for all damages incurred, including all of your lost income, and non-financial ones like pain and suffering.
2) Consult a Workplace Injury Lawyer
A workplace injury lawyer will be able to study the cause or causes of your injury and determine who is liable.
Very often, workers do not attempt to get in touch with a lawyer. They are satisfied with the workers' compensation that they receive and do not think about anything further. But, when you do that, you are losing money that you may rightfully have a claim to.
You also need to check whether your injuries are indeed workplace injuries. For your injury to be truly work-related, you should be involved in work or any activity on the behalf of the employer. Your injury will be considered work-related if you were attending official parties or get-togethers, even if not on official premises. If a pre-existing condition worsened as a result of the job, then it will be treated as a workplace injury. Mental health problems that have occurred as a result of your job, or that were sustained at the workplace, are also treated as workplace injuries.
Also, if you consult a Indiana workplace injury attorney, he or she will be able to check your eligibility for worker's insurance. Very rarely is there gross negligence or failure detected on the side of the employer. In such situations, you will be advised to sue by your lawyer.
3) Report Your Injury as Soon as Possible
It is mandatory that you report your injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. It is important that your employer officially records the incident and the injury that you suffered. It is mandatory under law that every company maintains a record of adverse events and incidents happening in the workplace. This not only serves as a warning and reminder to other employees, but also helps employers improve safety and health measures in workplaces. This is an important step toward workplace injury prevention.
If you want to make a legal claim, it is necessary that you report your injury on the same day or within a few days, and file a claim with the workers' compensation court or industrial court in your area, as mandated in the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the minimum period within which a legal claim can be filed after one becomes knowledgeable about the injury.
4) Know Your Rights
Workers who suffer from injuries at workplaces are entitled to legal rights that are common across most states.
Your rights include the right to file an injury claim, right to medical treatment and days off work to recuperate, right to return back to work after recovery and approval from your physician, right to appeal against the amount granted as compensation and seek fairer terms, and also the right to be represented by a lawyer throughout.
If you are harassed or intimidated by your employer at any stage, or suffer from reprisal due to your decision to file a compensation claim, you can take legal action against your employer. Severed penalties and fines are imposed on guilty employers.
Workplace injuries can affect a person's ability to work, and the family's financial stability, social life, and fulfillment. It is important that you follow the right legal option and receive a fair compensation that will address not only your current suffering, but also your future needs.