Workplace injuries have been in the news a lot lately thanks to some major exposes. From worker injuries in Amazon warehouses to a recent New York Times story about pregnant workers miscarrying, the rights of workers has been a major issue this year. Because while injured workers have certain legal rights, most of us don’t actually know what those rights are.
Unfortunately, the disability wage gap is just as significant as the gender wage gap. Today, Americans with disabilities earn about 70% less than their colleagues. Too often, a workplace injury forces employees out of their career or workplace altogether. And after getting hurt at work, many people experience the uncomfortable panic of not knowing what to do next.
Understandably, after handling the emergency or treating the initial injury, many employees wonder how they’ll pay for medical expenses, and what might happen to their career if they miss a significant amount of work.
If you’ve been hurt on the job, your career might hang in the balance. To avoid financial, legal, and professional hardship, start your recovery by taking the following steps:
Report as Early as Possible. Clear pathways of communication are key to ensuring that your recovery is a smooth process. Tell your employer about the injury as soon as you can. Many states and employers have deadlines for how long an employee can wait before reporting a workplace injury. Most of these deadlines, according to AllLaw.com, are 30 days or fewer, so be prompt in your report.
Keep Records of Treatment. The biggest priority after a workplace injury is restoring your health. Seek swift medical treatment, and be sure to record each of your visits. Keep documentation of your treatments, prescriptions, and expenses. You may be required to attend an appointment with a doctor chosen by your employers insurer. Be careful to follow the assigned doctors instructions to the letter, or else possibly risk your compensation. If you visit your own doctor, be sure to tell them your injury is work-related.
Get Help from an Attorney. Workers compensation cases are often tricky scenarios. To be sure that your needs are met and that your employer is held accountable, don’t hesitate to get help from an attorney. About 74% of states in the U.S. require all employers to have workers’ comp coverage, and an attorney can help you navigate state-specific policy requirements.
Return to Work When You Are Able. Another big mistake that some workers make when dealing with a compensation case is taking too long to return to work. If an employer offers you your position back, it is customary to accept. Refusing to do so can jeopardize your case and your career in some situations. Avoid long gaps in your career advancement by returning to work when possible.
Even the most diligent and goal-oriented employee can end up in a work-related accident. When dealing with a worker’s compensation claim, protect your finances, your career, and your health by following these steps.
Photo Credit: stock photo; DME Hub