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Friday, April 1, 2016

Steps to take if you have been injured on the job

How to file a workers compensation claim
Job related injuries should be well documented
By Christopher S.

If you are injured on the job, you need to report the injury immediately to your supervisor. Though you should tell them verbally, a written explanation or incident report should also be filed. Some states require it to be in writing. Each company has their own policies and the employee should make sure they follow proper protocol. There is a statue of limitations as far as how long you have to report the claim. By reporting the claim immediately, you ensure that you are not in jeopardy of running out of time and your claim being denied. 

Do I need to file a worker's compensation claim?

Those who are injured on the job need to seek medical attention immediately. The medical records will serve as proof of the injury and can be used in a Worker's Compensation case. Many people are leery of filing a claim for fear they are bringing a lawsuit against their employer. It's not a lawsuit but rather a request for benefits through an insurance company that they pay to cover them. A simple call to the Workers' Compensation Office can help you get your claim rolling. Minor injuries don't require a claim. A claim is reserved for cases where there has been time off from work, a great injury has occurred, or there is reason to believe that treatment will be ongoing. 

Your employer can give you a copy of the form you need to file. The Bureau of Worker's Compensation must answer your claim within 14 days. If you don't receive a letter, make sure to call your local branch to find out the status. 

Do I need a lawyer?

Just like with most injury claims, there are times when claims are denied even though they should have been approved. These claims will need a legal representative to get the compensation a person deserves. It's not often cut and dry and sometimes you have to fight to get the payment. Having a skilled legal counsel member can only increase the chances of getting a reasonable outcome. Though it should be, Worker's Compensation cases are not always easy. 

What if my employer doesn't have coverage? 

Employers are required by law to carry Worker's Compensation insurance. The only exceptions are agricultural and domestic employees, along with independent contractors. If an employer states that they don't carry that insurance coverage, the State's Labor Board should be contacted. It is a responsibility of the company to carry insurance to cover their employees. If the company indeed doesn't have this insurance, they will be required to pay for your benefits from their own pocket. This not only increases the complexity of the case but anyone in this situation will need a lawyer. These types of cases usually end up before a judge, so legal assistance is imperative.  

If you do get to the point where you need legal representation, don't discuss your case with your employer any further. Allow the attorneys to iron everything out and don't give the other side any ammunition. It doesn't matter who or what was to blame for the accident. If an accident occurs on the work premises it is the Worker's Compensation insurance that is required to pay for your bills and time off.

About the author: Christopher S. is an avid blogger from Tulsa, Oklahoma who is passionate about encouraging safety for all communities while working with the Gorospe & Smith Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyer Firm in his own community to educate and promote safety and accident prevention.

Image: Wikipedia; "Window cleaner on Shanghai skyscraper', CC BY-SA 2.5