It is just necessary for every employer in various states to provide their employees with a reasonably safe and healthy work environment. There are some employers who neglect the importance of this matter which results in injuries of employees. However, there are unavoidable circumstances where employees get injured on the job even if every effort has been done already to make sure that the workplace is safe.
Injuries can include everything from broken bones, worsening of pre-existing conditions, occupational illnesses, even psychological injuries. This is why different states have their own type of system that can support employees with work-related injuries. So if you’ve just experienced an injury in your workplace or know someone who is going through the same thing, then this article is for you.
According to Stats Government NZ, there is a sum of 231,100 work-related injury claims that were made in 2017 to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in New Zealand. They also found out that trades workers had the most excessive number of claims by occupation in 2017, with 41,000 claims.
This is somehow the same in Australia, where technicians, trades workers, community and personal service workers were the occupation groups have the highest rates of people who experienced a work-related injury or illness (72 per 1000 employed persons and 69 per 1000 persons respectively), according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.
What Should I Do If I Got Injured on the Job?
The most effective and easiest way to protect your legal rights is to report your injury to your employer. Almost all states commonly require their employees to report their injury within a certain period of time, usually the same day within a few days of the incident. However, this may not always be applicable as circumstances may differ, but it is recommended that you report your injury as early as you can.
After that, you need to file a claim with the worker’s compensation court of industrial court in your state. This will place your employer, the court and your employer’s insurance company on formal notice of your injury.
Immediately after your claim is filed, definite automatic protections are instantly put in place.
What are My Legal Rights?
You have to remember that laws regarding worker’s compensations differ vastly from state to state. So this only means that rights afforded an injured employee vary widely as well as different legal procedures that ensure those rights.
Nevertheless, here are a number of legal rights that are common across most states:
- You are entitled to file a claim for your injury or illness in workers compensation court or the state industrial court.
- You have the privilege to see a doctor and to pursue medical treatment.
- If your physician advised that you can to return to work, then you have the right to come back to work.
- You have the right to avail a certain type of disability compensation if you are unable to return to work because of your injury or illness, either permanently or temporarily.
- You have the right to disagree with any decision made by your employer, the employer’s insurance company, or the worker’s compensation court, and
- You have entitled to have a lawyer that will represent you throughout the process.
It is important as understanding your rights to act just as important to understand your right to turn down certain requests or offers. For instance, if you are injured and your employer tells you to use your own health insurance to pay for your medical treatment, you have the right to say, “no.” Or if your boss presents you with some incentive in an attempt to persuade you against filing a workers compensation claim, be aware that it’s illegal and you can say “no” to it.
Do I Have Any Rights Against Parties Other Than My Employer?
There are instances that your on-the-job injury might have been caused by the negligence of a third party. It might be that this other entity or person may be a manufacturer or a designer of a defective piece of equipment or possibly the driver of the delivery truck.
Nevertheless, as long as you injured while at work due to the negligence of another party, you have all the right to bring a claim against that person or entity, known as “third-party claims.” Normally, these claims are not filed in the worker’s compensation world. Instead, they are a form of civil lawsuits and are filed in state or federal courts.