We look for employment to earn wages to take care of ourselves and our family. What we do not realize is that all jobs come with the risk of getting injured. When people think about workplace injuries, they usually think of construction workers building a high-rise, roofers on top of a house or electricians working on power lines.
However, workers in office jobs are as much at risk of getting injured as workers on a highway construction project.
What Is Worker’s Comp
Fortunately, there are worker’s compensation laws that provide benefits for employees who are injured or became ill due to their jobs. State-administered workers’ compensation insurance provides cash benefits to injured employees, based on the wages earned before the injury, and payment for medical treatment for those whose claims have been approved by the Workers’ Compensation Review Board.
The benefits are not automatic. Workers have to formally file claims and provide proof of their injury.
What to Know Before You File
If you were injured and are considering filing a claim, here are five tips to consider:
1. Report your injury immediately. Let your supervisor, human resources manager, or other company authority know immediately that you were involved in an accident. Provide as many details as possible, including where the accident occurred, what led up to it and how it happened. If at all possible, let them know if you were with any other employees at the time. Your coworkers might serve in your claim as witnesses.
2. Seek medical treatment. Your company may have employees or professional health care providers on staff to render first aid. If not, go to a hospital emergency room or to your personal physician for treatment. It’s possible that you may not feel any pain until a later time. If this is the case, seek medical attention the moment that your health becomes impaired.
3. Maintain a file related to your injury. Keep records of your medical treatment, your doctor’s diagnosis, prescribed medications, physical therapy and other health-related documents connected to your injury. You will need these documents to support your injury claim.
4. Adjust your lifestyle. If you claim to have a back injury as a result of your job, then don’t decide to lay bricks for a patio. Your company may launch a fraud investigation to determine whether you are telling the truth about your injury. If someone sees you bending over to lay bricks, your company might decide you were not seriously injured. Do not do anything to give your company or the Workers’ Compensation Review Board a reason to deny your claim.
5. Return to work when feasible. Going back to work will allow your employer to see how the injury has affected your work habits. You may have to be reassigned to other duties. Depending on your injury, you may not be able to go back to work for a while. Either case can be used to support your Workers’ Compensation claim.
If you are planning to file a worker’s comp claim, you might need assistance from an attorney specializing in job-related injuries. An attorney cannot guarantee that your claim will be approved, but an attorney knows what information the review board is more likely to accept.
Catherine Harris is happy to offer these tips for filing a claim for worker’s compensation following a job-related accident or injury. She found helpful information from the website http://www.augerlaw.com/north-carolina-workers-compensation-attorney.html when researching and preparing this article.