The last thing that you would ever want to happen is to be fighting with your employer over an injury that you suffered while at work. Not only does this make tension levels run high, but also it can feel as though you are putting your job at risk. Worker’s compensation cases can be challenging or even complicated, and this is why legal help is usually necessary. Are you aware of what qualifies these type of cases? (Even if you are not currently injured or sick, it’s a good idea to be aware of the rules on these types of cases, should you ever have an incident in the future).
There are three basic eligibility requirements to having a workers compensation case:
1st – Your employer must have (or be legally required to have) workers compensation coverage. The large majority of employers are required to carry it, but if you want to make sure, you can check into what types of companies/employers are exempt by looking up the workers compensation laws for our state, described in detail here under ‘Coverage’.
2nd – You must be an employee on record with your employer (independent contractors and freelance workers are not covered).
3rd – Your injury (or illness) must be work-related.
Remember, if you are injured on the job – the first, and perhaps most important step is to seek medical help right away, when the injury or sickness occurs. Getting immediate treatment will help the court and medical experts to favor your case. Our bodies are made to go into a state of shock to protect ourselves when we’re injured, but this defense mechanism can sometimes work against you. You may think that you are okay – the pain isn’t bad at all, but then one or two days later, you wake up in pain. Obviously you shouldn’t overreact. But seemingly mild injuries or sickness can turn out to be something more – so it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a medical doctor.
Don’t hesitate to ask your company about their worker’s compensation policy. Unless your employer is one of those rare exceptions, they are required by law to have workers compensation coverage. A good company should also have a safety manual or guidelines, and policies for reporting unsafe conditions – and injuries.
Sometimes, the eligibility requirement of the injury or illness being work-related can be difficult to determine. There are unique situations where employees are injured while not on-site at their employer’s property, but yet they were engaging in a work-related errand or activity – or even a social function arranged by their officemates or employer. Or maybe someone has severe allergies or asthma and the workplace environment isn’t the only thing that is making them have these symptoms, but other factors such as their apartment building are contributing. Gray areas do exist.
As you can see, many factors coming into play in a workers compensation lawsuit. This is why most people hire an attorney and seek legal advice when their job has caused them an illness or injury. Your condition will be scrutinized, including a review of any past injuries, pre-existing conditions, and all of the details and happenings surrounding the onset of your illness or injury. Be prepared for many questions, interviews, and paper forms.
Injuries are always unexpected, but you can be prepared. Know your company’s policies, ensure that they have the coverage, and know your employee status. And keep an attorney’s number on hand, should you ever need someone to call. Your employer should cover any type of injury received on the job as long as it is documented properly.