No one wants to think they’ll be injured at their place of work. The fact is, that in 2019 alone there were over 3 million workplace injuries in the USA.
According to the Workplace Injury Source, the most dangerous occupations to work in (according to the total number of reported accidents) are:
- Health and social care
- Manufacturing and construction
- Accommodation and food
- Transportation and warehousing
A workplace injury is a very broad term and can include anything from carpal tunnel syndrome to a fatal accident.
Luckily, increased regulation means that employers are required to invest a lot of time and resources in providing a safe working environment for their employees, and the number of accidents that occur has been falling for the past 10 years.
If you are injured while you’re at work, it can be a very scary time and you may not be sure what to do, who to talk to, or what your rights are. This is what you should do in the first instance:
Report the accident
You should report the accident or injury to your employer as soon as possible. If there is a possibility that you will need to claim compensation, then this is even more important as most states will have a statute of limitations on how long after an accident occurs that you can claim. Each state is different but it is often around two years.
Not reporting an accident could violate your employer’s policies and may leave your open to disciplinary action if you fail to report it
Seek legal advice
If you believe your employer is liable for your accident or illness through negligence, then you will need to seek specialist legal advice.
If you are a member of a union, then you may be able to get a free initial consultation for free to see if you have a case. As your local union rep for further information on any benefits you get.
If you’re looking for legal advice, choose carefully, as there are many unscrupulous lawyers out there.
Look for a lawyer who has experience in your specific type of case. For instance, if you’re a truck driver you would look for lawyers for truck drivers, as they will have specific insight into your case.
Many employers are required to have a compensation scheme for their workers, but will not pay out if an employee sues them. You need to weigh up what you could potentially get from the compensation scheme versus what you might be entitled to in a legal scenario.
Seek a medical opinion
Your employer will likely insist that you see a doctor that they choose for you. It is a good idea to get a second medical opinion of your own from a different doctor. If both doctors concur, that’s great, but if they have very different diagnoses then you may even need to seek a third opinion.
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