All states in the USA legally require businesses to carry worker’s compensation insurance, also referred to as worker’s comp. This is used to protect employees who suffer a work-related illness or are involved in an accident in the workplace which causes injury, and is used to pay medical expenses and provide cash benefits regardless of who was at fault.

However, it’s not a fail proof system, and if you’ve been involved in a workplace accident you may need to get legal representation in order to protect your rights.

Eligibility requirements

Although all states require businesses to carry worker’s comp, it can vary from state to state. In order to be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits, there are some specific requirements which you and your employer must meet. Firstly, your employer must carry worker’s compensation insurance.

You must have been an employee of the company at the time of the accident. Worker’s comp covers both full and part time employees, temporary employees and seasonal staff. Independent contractors or volunteers do not qualify. Lastly, you must have been injured or fallen ill as a result of your job-related duties.

What are workplace injuries?

A workplace injury is any injury that you sustain whilst carrying out the duties of your job. Workplace injuries and illnesses are most commonly caused by slips and falls, manual materials handling, repetitive motion injuries, or motor vehicle accidents. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, over a million workers per year sustain back injuries, which can result from handling and carrying heavy loads.

Injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident are covered by worker’s compensation if the employee in question was carrying out work duties at the time of the accident. Employees will not be covered if the accident occurred whilst commuting to and from work, except for in certain special circumstances.

What to do if you have been injured

If you have been involved in an accident at work and as a result have sustained an injury, there are two things which you should do immediately. Firstly, you should inform your supervisor or line manager about the injury and ensure that it is reported and documented correctly.

If you require medical attention immediately, you should be administered with first aid and visit the emergency room if necessary. If your injury does not warrant a visit to the emergency room, you should still see a doctor. You may be able to see your regular family doctor or your employer may choose a doctor for you, depending on policy.

Choosing a personal injury lawyer

It is a good idea to attain a personal injury attorney to assist you in your claim, as even though most of the time the worker’s compensation system runs smoothly, you may need an experienced attorney at times to guide you through the claims process and ensure that you receive all that you are entitled to. See Adame Garza Lawyers for more information.

Have you got a workplace accident story to tell? Let us know in the comments.