If you’re unfortunate enough to be injured while at work, it’s helpful to understand the responsibilities that you, and your employer, both have. Below, we’ll look at some of the considerations to help you decide whether a compensation claim against your employer is the best course of action.
As soon as the accident happens
The first thing to do if you’re injured to get yourself out of the way of further danger, and to make sure no one else enters the vicinity. For example, if you’ve slipped on a wet marble floor. Someone (but not you!) should place warning signs and dries the area as soon as possible.
Assuming that you’ve not been severely hurt, take some photos of the scene, immediately, and note the details of any witnesses. Your employer will also do this but it’s wise to have your own record of what happened, in case you later dispute a workers compensation claim.
If you require first aid (for example for a light cut), your employer should have ensured that properly trained personnel are available at all times to deal with this.
If your injuries potentially require anything more, your employer must arrange medical aid including emergency transfer if required. Even if you aren’t in pain at the time, your injuries should be assessed by a medical professional.
Following the incident
Your employer will create a detailed incident report, which you should sign if you agree with the details – or amend (or even refuse to sign) if you dispute them.
It’s in both your interests to keep the channels of communication open, not only between yourselves but also with the medical experts, the claims adjustor, and the company’s insurance agent. This will help the process to move forward more quickly, so you can receive the funds required to pay for any treatment, and compensation for any loss of income.
A good employer will have written procedures in place that clarify the claims process, to help you understand the responsibilities of each party. However, in all cases, you should expect your company to communicate with you as the situation progresses.
When should you hire an attorney?
If you decide to reject your employer’s offer of compensation, hiring a specialist attorney can be a smart move. Your employer should share any relevant information with your legal team, including any documentation.
If your employer still doesn’t show a willingness to resolve your compensation claim, or, despite negotiation refuses to settle equitably, the only option may be to pursue a legal claim against them.
The longer a case continues, the higher the costs are likely to be, so it’s in the interests of all parties, to agree as soon as possible.
Employers are required to hold employer’s compensation insurance, which should cover their costs, but if they don’t have an adequate policy, filing a lawsuit against them may also be necessary. They may also face legal penalties.
In summary, once you have a work-related accident, your employer has the responsibility to ensure that you are adequately and swiftly compensated so that you suffer no financial loss in addition to any physical and emotional suffering.