When you get injured while on the job, more people are going to take advantage of you than you might even realize.
Although many insurance companies and government organizations claim to be for you from commercials and effective PR campaigns, they are not on your side at all.
All that these insurance companies want to do is to settle your claim for as little as possible and act under the guise of being kind and extremely patient with you.
Due to these unfortunate realities, you need to understand your rights if you have been hurt while working at a work site. People and these companies will try to take advantage of you.
However, if you take the right steps to protect yourself and if you are knowledgeable about what you can do, that can go a long way. So what are you technically entitled to? Let’s find out.
The Right to Workers’ Compensation
As an injured worker, you have the right to basic workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a program that is federally mandated to provide benefits to those who have been injured on the job.
It is classified as an insurance, and the types of injuries that are usually covered include slip and falls, muscle tears, exposure to hazardous materials, and bone fractures. However, in order to be eligible for a claim, you need to file a workers’ comp claim to the government, and report your injury as well.
Filing a claim can usually be done with the help of an attorney, and the deadlines for filing these claims vary depending on the state, as well as your occupation. For example, the workers’ comp claim deadline in California is one year, while a workplace injury needs to be reported within 30 days of the incident.
It is important to be mindful of the laws in your state, as well as your occupation. For more information on what your local laws are, check out this guide.
The Right to Medical Treatment
Seek medical attention immediately. Yes, you heard that right. Get the best care possible to make sure you are in good condition since you don’t want to receive any long-term injuries. The care you receive depends on the severity of your injuries, but most normal medical expenses are covered by workers’ compensation.
It is also important to keep in mind that if you end up filing a workers’ compensation claim, keep documentation of all of your medical bills and records. Having this documentation handy can go a long way in strengthening your potential case.
The Right to Temporary & Permanent Disability Benefits
So what exactly is temporary disability?
Temporary disability is a benefit that you can recieve for lost wages, usually replacing what an employee could have earned if he or she had not been injured. The benefit amounts are usually calculated based upon your weekly earnings and it’s paid on a set schedule.
The benefits of temporary disability typically do not last long, usually up to 52 weeks, or equivalent to one year. In addition, the money you receive is around two-thirds of what you would have made if you were still on the job.
Furthermore, you also have the right to permanent disability benefits.
These benefits are similar to temporary disability benefits, but payments from permanent disability can last you the rest of your life. For example, if you have lost control of your legs and you are unable to walk or stand for the rest of your life, you might be able to qualify.
The Right to Vocational Rehabilitation
Vocational rehabilitation is a program funded by the U.S. government that helps people with disabilities find jobs, usually helping people with physical or learning disabilities.
This program can be particularly beneficial with helping those who have permanent physical disabilities. For instance, someone who may have used to work in construction can be able to find a job that is much less labor intensive, such as an office or corporate job.
If you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation, you need to meet eligibility criteria as defined in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 sections 501 and 505. If you meet the criteria, the primary goal of this program is to help injured workers return to employment as smoothly as possible.
The Right Of Protection from Retaliation
Let’s say your employer is making you work at an unsafe construction site that is not up to OSHA regulations. In addition, it is extremely hot and excruciatingly humid outside, making it difficult to perform your job to the highest standard.
You have concerns about your working conditions, but your boss tells you that you need to work in these conditions or else you’ll be fired. In addition, he tells you that if you report his behavior to OSHA, he will lawyer up and do everything in his power to screw you over.
Fortunately, the law can protect you from these types of situations even if you are scared to report to the government or OSHA. The Fair Standards Labor Act makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee because they have filed a complaint against the organization.
The Right To An Attorney
But do you know who can do an even better job of protecting your rights?
Specifically, you want to hire a lawyer who specializes in work injuries and workers’ compensation claims. By having an experienced Philadelphia work injury attorney from Rosenbaum & Associates on your side, they can help you guide through the worker’s compensation process, the red tape, while also protecting your rights every step of the way.
You should also keep in mind that hiring an attorney who focuses on these claims actually doesn’t cost anything out of your pocket. Instead, they take a percentage of the settlement, so if they don’t win your case, you don’t pay.
Protect Your Rights Today
By understanding your rights within the United States legal system, you have a higher chance of receiving workers compensation and disability benefits, getting the right medical treatment, and protecting yourself from retaliation.
Most importantly, an attorney who focuses on workers’ compensation and is knowledgeable in navigating the complex laws and regulations can help you protect your rights and fight for the justice that you deserve.