How to Handle Workplace Injuries

How to Handle Workplace Injuries


By Diane Ferraro

Workplace injuries – what are your rights and what your employer is required to do

Work place accidents happen: you may slip or machinery may malfunction, injuring you or another employee. If you’re lucky, the only thing you’ll get is a scare. But, there are times that workplace accidents result in a minor or even a serious injury. As an injured employee you have rights and your employer has certain responsibilities towards you.

Actually, your employer’s responsibility to you starts before a workplace accident takes place. If the employer is a responsible one then most workplace accidents can be avoided. Your employer is responsible for providing a safe work environment for you and your co-workers and all industry safety and health codes should be implemented and followed.

This is important for two reasons:

First, it’s essential to your safety.

Secondly, if you don’t know the safety codes and end up injuring yourself  while violating one, it could affect your worker’s compensation claim negatively. Your employer is also responsible for providing the proper training for machinery and work equipment, including upgrading and refresher courses for all employees.

Any equipment or machinery should also be routinely checked out and maintained. Infrequently checked machines can result in injury. Routine check-ups will ensure that problems such as broken or worn out parts are caught before an accident happens.

Your Rights

But, let’s say that an accident does happen and you are injured. You still have certain rights and your employer still has certain responsibilities to you.

First, you need to go see a doctor or to the emergency room, your employer should provide the transportation. Second, they should have the paper work you need to fill out your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer should not impede this process or try to discourage you from filling out the forms or fail to inform the proper authorities about the accident.

You may think that you’ve only sprained your ankle and wonder, “Why should I bother filling out mounds of paper work and create problems for my employer?” However, you could have injuries from the accident that can take months, perhaps years to become apparent. If there is paper documentation of what happened, then you will have an easier time if you need to file a claim at a later date.

Labor Agreement

While it would be nice to think that if you were injured at work your employer would volunteer to help with any medical costs and lost wages, this may not be the case. But, if you are unionized and have a collective bargaining agreement in place, your employer may be legally bound to help pay for your medical expenses. They may also have to hold your job for you until you are well enough to come back, or retrain you if your injuries mean that you can no longer do the job you were hired to do.

If you aren’t unionized, there may be something laid out in your work contract about injury and help with costs. Make sure that you read all of the fine print to ensure you get what you’re entitled to.

Employer Negligence

If your accident was due to negligence on the part of your employer, you may choose to turn to a personal injury lawyer to help you ensure that your employer not only pay your medical bills and you may also decide to sue for damages. If you sue successfully, then once again your employer is lawfully bound to pay out.

Make sure that you are fully aware of your rights and your employer’s responsibility to you in case of a workplace accident.

Author Information

Diane Ferarro is an expert in all things insurance and is a freelance writer for a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney.  In addition to blogging, she likes to scrapbook and travel as much as possible.


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