If you are hurt on the job, you will likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In exchange for accepting these benefits, you agree to not bring a lawsuit against your employer for any injuries suffered. Workers’ comp covers most work-related injuries, but there are certain rules you must follow to obtain benefits, and even a simple mistake can delay or reduce the benefits to which you are entitled.
If I am injured on the job, what’s the first thing I should do?
Following a work-related injury or illness, you should take the steps below:
- Immediately report your injury or illness to a supervisor;
- Ask to see a physician;
- Request and fill out a workers’ comp form.
Remember, your employer is under no legal obligation to provide workers’ comp benefits until you have reported your injury and completed a claim form. Don’t wait until your condition is so bad that you can no longer perform the duties of your job. A Boston workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured at work.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Provide?
Although benefits can vary from case to case, the four basic benefits that a recipient of workers’ comp can expect to receive are as follows:
- Medical care: Any treatment that is reasonably necessary for your injury should be covered by the insurance company that provides workers’ comp insurance to your employer;
- Benefit payments: You should receive a percentage of your wages while you are unable to work;
- Settlement for permanent disability: If you are permanently unable to return to work, you may be entitled to compensation based on the severity of your disability;
- Vocational rehab: If you are unable to return to your old occupation but you can perform the duties of another occupation, you may be entitled to paid training.
Can My Employer Fire Me While I’m Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits?
If you are receiving workers’ comp due to a temporary disability, your employer may not terminate you. If, however, medical evidence shows that you will be unable to return to your job, there may be an exception to this rule. If your disability will keep you from your occupation for an extended period, and this absence places an undue burden on your employer, a temporary worker may be used to replace you until your return. A MA work injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured on the job.
Commonly Overlooked Work Injuries
If you have one of the injuries below, you may be suffering from a work injury without even knowing it.
- Heart problems: Even if a heart attack or other heart problem occurs away from the workplace, it could be work-related.
- Lung problems: Breathing problems and other conditions involving the lungs can be caused by long-term exposure to industrial chemicals and materials.
- Hearing loss: If your workplace exposes you to loud noises on a regular basis, this can cause hearing loss, even if you wear hearing protection.
- Back problems and hernias: If you regularly lift or move even moderately heavy objects, this can lead to serious back pain and hernias.
- Eye injuries: Eye strain from staring at a computer screen all day, and airborne irritants in industrial occupations can both cause serious injuries to the eyes.
- Hand injuries: If your job involves repetitive motions of the hands and wrists, you may wind up with severe wrist pain and injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Desk jobs are notorious for these injuries.