Work injuries can occur from a variety of incidents, such as a motor vehicle accident, repetitive movements, or a slip and fall. Unfortunately these accidents can result in extremely serious injuries that incur medical expenses and prevent you from earning income. After sustaining an injury at your place of work, you would hope that your employer will help cover these expenses. But what exactly are your rights as an injured employee?
Workers’ Comp Laws By State
The exact workers’ compensation laws and regulations differ by state. Almost every employer in the U.S. is required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, except for Texas. Beyond that, each state differs in the specific laws and how they are mandated. Some states have a rule for how many employees need to work at the company to require workers’ comp, and others don’t.
In California, for example, companies that have only one employee are still required to purchase workers’ comp insurance. Other states like Alabama don’t require workers’ comp if there are four or fewer employees. Some states like Minnesota exempt certain types of employers such as family farm operations, according to the Minneapolis attorneys at KSK Law.
You can learn more about your state’s specific workers’ comp laws here.
Is My Injury Eligible For Benefits?
Even if you have determined that your employer provides workers’ comp benefits, how do you ensure that your injury is covered? There are a number of qualifications that must be met to make sure you are eligible to be covered financially by your employer. Here are some:
- You must be an employee, not an independent contractor.
- The injury must have occurred on the job, during work hours. This includes illnesses caused by exposure to things at work, as well as mental health issues caused by your job.
- The injury must be serious enough to affect your work and/or personal life.
- The injury must be documented by a medical professional in a timely manner.
- The injury needs to be reported to your employer within the allotted amount of time, depending on your state. Most states give you around 30 days from the date of injury.
- You must have filed a workers’ compensation claim within the statute of limitations for your state. For example, the statute in California is one year from the date of your injury.
- There must be evidence and documentation of your injury. You will need to prove that you are attending medical appointments in order to receive your benefits.
Even if the employee was at fault for their injury, they should still be eligible for benefits, according to the workers’ comp lawyers at DiMarco Araujo Montevideo. However, if a work injury was sustained while violating company policies or committing a crime, the injury is not covered.
Getting Your Claim Approved
Once your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you will be eligible for benefits such as medical expense coverage, lost wage replacement, disability benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. If your claim is denied, an attorney who specializes in workers’ comp cases can help you appeal it. Injured workers should have a right to employer benefits, and a lawyer can help you navigate the system.