What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system set up for injured employees for injuries that occur while at work. The injuries are categorized into two different types: a specific injury and a cumulative trauma injury.
A specific injury is when one event happens at work that causes the worker injury. Some examples include hurting your back in a fall, getting hurt in a car accident while making deliveries, getting cut while using machinery at work, and getting burned by a chemical that splashes on the skin.
A cumulative trauma injury is when the worker is injured as a result of repeated exposures at work. This occurs when the worker, through his/her usual duties and over a period of time develops injury from doing the same motion over and over. Some examples include developing pain the back from repeated heavy lifting, losing hearing because of constant loud noise, and developing pain in your wrists from constantly doing the same motion such as typing or stocking shelves.
What are my Benefits?
As part of the workers’ compensation system, the worker is entitled to various benefits that are intended to help the worker obtain medical treatment, obtain compensation while off work, and receive compensation for any permanent disability that the worker has sustained as a result of the work place injury.
(1) Medical Care: The employer is obligated to pay for medical treatment to help the worker recover from injury or illness.
(2) Temporary Disability: The worker receives payments if they lose wages because the injury prevents the worker from doing their usual job while recovering.
(3) Permanent Disability: The worker receives compensation if they do not recover completely.
(4) Supplemental Job Displacement: The worker receives vouchers to help pay for retraining or skill enhancement if the worker does not recover completely and doesn’t return to work for their employer.
(5) Death Benefits: Payments made to the workers’ spouse, children, or other dependents if the worker dies for a job injury or illness.
What Should I do if I Get Injured at Work?
The worker should report the injury to their employer and/or supervisor right away. If their injury or illness developed over time, they should report it as soon as they learn or believe that is was caused by their job.
If it is a medical emergency, the worker should go to an emergency room right away. The employer may tell the worker where to go for treatment. Either way, report to the health care provider if you believe the injury is work related.
Once the injury is reported, the worker must give or mail a claim from, called a DWC-1 form, to the worker within one working day after learning about the injury or illness. The worker must fill out the form to start the workers compensation process and to request workers’ compensation benefits.
After the injury is reported, the worker should seek medical care to help them recover. The worker should be treated by a doctor who understands that particular type of injury or illness. The worker should describe the symptoms as well as the events at work that the worker believes caused them. The worker should also provide a description of his or her job duties and work environment.
Can I be Fired for Seeking Workers’ Compensation?
It is illegal for the employer to retaliate against, punish, or fire a worker for having a job injury or for filing a workers’ compensation claim when they believe the injury was caused by their job. If an employer takes action against you, our attorneys will take action to protect your right. When you feel your job is being threatened, it is important to find someone who can help, such as an attorney as there are deadlines for taking action to protect your rights.
If you believe you have been injured as a result of your job, don’t sit on your rights! Take action and call Solouki & Savoy LLP. We will help you in every step of the workers’ compensation process from corresponding with your employer to avoid harassment, procuring medical treatment, as well as getting the compensation you deserve.