If you have a job that puts you at risk (or even if you work in an office), it can be difficult to figure out when the nature of your work or the environment you work in is the cause of an injury on the job. Especially because companies can differ so greatly from industry to industry, it can be a challenge to determine whether or not your injury even warrants filling out the paperwork necessary to claim workers’ compensation benefits.
That being said, there are several commonalities amongst all workers’ compensation cases that are worth reflecting on if you’re on the fence about whether or not you have a workers’ comp case on your hands. The following five tips are worth keeping in mind as you reflect on your workplace injury and whether or not you should file a workers’ compensation claim.
1. A lawyer believes they could prove neglect on your employer’s part.
Sometimes if you’re not sure about whether or not a situation constitutes a workers’ compensation claim, it can be helpful to discuss your situation with an attorney. Often times, a local law firm can offer you a free consultation to hash out the particulars of your case to determine whether or not it makes sense to press charges or not.
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to finding trusted legal counsel, simply head to your favorite search engine like Google and type in a phrase such as “Raleigh North Carolina workers comp lawyer” to find attorneys in your area that focus on workers’ rights or labor issues. Someone with decades of experience pressing charges on the behalf of employees can be a major boon when you’re trying to get the compensation you deserve if you were hurt on the job.
2. You weren’t given the proper equipment to perform your duties.
A clear sign that your employer may have been neglectful is if they didn’t provide you with the right equipment you needed to do your job. For example, if you’re a chef working prep and don’t have access to the right knives or a cutting glove and wind up hurting yourself, your employer may be at fault. It’s worth noting that if it’s your fault that you didn’t wear the proper clothing, such as denim jeans and a hard hat on a construction site, you won’t be able to blame your employer. That said, if you were never given a hard hat in the first place, your employer might be on the hook.
3. You now qualify for total (or partial) disability benefits.
Another sign that you may qualify for workers’ compensation is if your injury was serious enough to qualify you for partial or total disability benefits. A sure sign that you should be filing a workers’ comp claim is if you’re also filing for disability benefits with the Social Security office. Serious injuries that occurred on the job are always worth applying for workers’ comp for, due to the medical costs and time away from work they may cause.
4. You weren’t at fault for your injury.
If another employee was the reason for your injury, that’s another sign that you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Regardless of whether it was a coworker or your boss that created the situation that led to your injury, if you’re not at fault for the harm that happened, you should file your claim. Even something as simple as the absence of a “wet floor” sign could be cause for workers’ comp, so don’t talk yourself out of filing a claim just because another party wasn’t present, either.
5. You didn’t get appropriate training before performing the task that hurt you.
Particularly if you handle heavy machinery and weren’t properly trained in the use of it, you may be able to qualify for workers’ comp if you were hurt as a result. Keep in mind that not completing the proper training is something that you’d be on the hook for. However, if you were never given training or a demonstration (or if your questions were shrugged off by the supervisor training you), you can qualify for workers’ compensation.
Getting injured on the job can be frightening; however, workers’ comp can help you cover some of the medical bills you incur. A reliable lawyer can help you navigate the process if you’re unsure whether or not you have a case. Especially if your incident matches any of the above criteria, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney to see what options you may have.