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Here's what you should know about workers' compensation

It's never a good situation when a person gets hurt at work. Employers could face fines and penalties, coworkers could witness traumatizing events and the worker and his or her family could struggle as he or she attempts to recover. In some cases, workers are killed on the job, leaving behind their families.

It's fortunate that workers' compensation is there to help individuals in these situations. After you get hurt on the job, you have a right to pursue compensation from your employer and his or her workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation insurance covers your medical bills, lost wages after a certain number of missed workdays and even covers funeral costs in the case of death.

How do you start the process?

Start by seeking medical care as soon as you realize you're injured. Whether it was a serious accident requiring immediate medical care or an injury that you seek care for after your shift is over, it's important that you see a doctor who can prescribe care for your injury or illness. Then, that doctor should help by saying when you can return to work. Additionally, since this is a work injury, you can ask that the doctor files it as a workers' compensation claim, so you owe nothing out of pocket.

You will need to fill out a claim form to give to your employer as soon as possible. If your employer knows about the incident, he or she may provide this document to you. If not, then you can get one from the local Information and Assistance officer.

Most workers find that their claims are accepted without a problem. However, some are not. It's possible to have a claim denied, and then you need to take additional steps to get the approval you need. For example, if you don't show how the incident was related to the workplace, you may not be covered.

You can show that your injury was related to work by linking it to your job. Were you at work when it happened? Were you performing job duties at the time of the incident? If so, then it's likely that your claim should be approved. If not, then you may not have a claim for workers' compensation. Your attorney can look at your case and help you decide if your claim was rightfully denied. If it was, there may be other avenues to obtaining compensation that don't involve the workers' compensation system.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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