Injuries can occur as a result of accidents, or they can develop slowly over time. They can affect your ability to work and your quality of life. Some types of injuries can give you the right to recover damages from the person who caused your injuries or was responsible for them. A person who causes a car accident, for example, could be liable for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages suffered by people who were injured in the accident. If you have suffered injuries while working, you might be able to recover damages through the worker’s compensation system. “Worker’s comp” pays benefits to eligible injured workers regardless of who was at fault for the injuries. You might also have a legal claim against your employer or someone else. A personal injury attorney with experience handling workplace injury claims can tell you more about your legal rights. They can help you prepare a claim for damages and advocate for you in worker’s comp proceedings or in court. Read on to learn more about what you can do if you have suffered a workplace injury.
The term “work-related injury” could refer to any injury sustained while working, but it often has a more specific meaning. State worker’s comp laws define the term as injuries that a worker sustains in the course of performing their ordinary job duties. It includes injuries that occur both at and away from a worksite, as long as the worker was doing their job at the time the injury occurred. A delivery driver, for example, can sustain a work-related injury in a car accident as long as they were making deliveries at that time.
Work-related injuries can result from a wide range of events, including:
Injuries that may result from incidents in the workplace may include:
Some injuries sustained in the workplace or while on the clock might not count as “work-related injuries,” at least in a legal sense. If the injured person was doing something other than their job duties at the time they sustained the injury, they could be ineligible for some types of damages, such as worker’s comp. The delivery driver mentioned above might not be “on the job” if they are taking a detour from their delivery route to handle a personal matter. A construction worker might not be performing their job duties if they are behaving recklessly on the worksite.
Each state has its own laws relating to personal injury claims and worker’s comp. A workplace injury attorney in your area can advise you about the specific requirements for asserting legal or insurance claims.
If you are involved in a work-related accident, you need to act quickly to take care of yourself and others and protect your legal rights. Each workplace accident presents unique circumstances, but the following steps can help you preserve evidence that you will need for a legal claim. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with many of these steps.
Some workplace accidents present an ongoing danger to yourself and others. Get yourself to safety if possible so that you can see how badly you are hurt.
You might need immediate medical attention, depending on the extent of your injuries. You or someone else might need to call 911 to request paramedics.
If you do not need medical care right away, see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. They can diagnose your injuries and provide documentation that will be necessary to claim damages.
Some situations, such as a car accident, may require police involvement. The police will prepare an accident report that you can include with your claim.
If possible, take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Write down as much as you can about your injuries. You might also keep a journal in the weeks and months after the accident to document how your injuries are affecting you. Have your injuries kept you from working? How have they affected your quality of life?
Try to take pictures of the scene of the accident if possible, but do not put yourself in harm’s way. If the police are present, do not get in the way of their investigation. When you are able to do so, write down as much as you can remember about the accident. Include information about what happened, when it happened, who was involved, and who witnessed it.
Identify as many witnesses as you can. An attorney can help you get statements from people who could serve as witnesses in a worker’s comp claim or lawsuit.
Let your employer know that you have sustained a work-related injury. Most states require you to submit a formal notice before you can make a worker’s comp claim.
An experienced worksite injury lawyer can offer invaluable help during this process. You might be seriously injured, so the last thing on your mind is how to build a legal case. Your attorney can handle many of the steps on this list so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Not all work-related injuries result from accidents. Some occur slowly and might only become noticeable over time. Injuries from repetitive motion, overexertion, or toxic chemical exposure, for example, can take months or years to become noticeable. Eventually, they can have a serious impact on your quality of life. The following steps can help you prepare a claim for damages:
As soon as possible after you become aware of your injury, talk to a doctor and get a diagnosis. You might need treatment or surgery.
When an injury develops over time, it can sometimes be difficult to connect it to your job. You must be able to demonstrate that the injury resulted from your job duties and not anything that happened outside of work.
You might not have visible injuries that you can photograph, but you can create a written record of your condition and its effect on you. You might also be able to take pictures of the area or areas where your injury has developed. If you have a repetitive-motion injury from operating a machine, for example, you could take pictures of the machine and your workspace.
You can also identify witnesses who can talk about your job and the working conditions you face. They can help you establish how your specific injuries were the result of your daily job duties.
As with any on-the-job injury, you must notify your employer about it. You may also have to inform them that you will be filing a claim with worker’s comp or their insurance company.
A personal injury attorney can help you build a case for damages due to long-term work-related injuries. They can gather documentation and evidence that connects your injuries to your job. You can then direct your attention to healing.
The types of damages that you can recover depend on the laws in your state and the nature of your injuries. You might be able to file a worker’s comp claim, which will cover damages like out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages. Other types of damages might require a lawsuit, which will be subject to the laws of your state.
Personal injury law recognizes three main types of damages:
Recovering damages for an injury usually requires proof that someone is legally at fault. Worker’s comp insurance, however, pays benefits to eligible workers no matter who is at fault for their injuries. Every state in the country except Texas requires employers to have worker’s comp insurance.
There are a few catches to this system:
While each state has its own procedures for worker’s comp claims, they have numerous similarities:
In some situations, you might be able to claim damages from someone other than your employer. Suppose your injuries resulted from a car accident while you were driving as part of your job. The other driver could be liable for your injuries. If defective machinery or hazardous chemicals caused your injuries, the manufactuer could be legally responsible. A personal injury lawyer can advise you about your specific case.
Our legal system does not require you to have an attorney when you file a lawsuit or other claim for a workplace injury. A lawyer has experience and knowledge that can vastly improve your claim’s chances of success. The Cochran Firm can help you with your claim in a vast number of ways:
The Cochran Firm was founded over 50 years ago by famed litigator Johnnie Cochran. Over the years, it has become one of the nation’s top plaintiffs’ litigation and criminal defense firms. Its knowledgeable and skilled workplace injury attorneys advocate for the rights of clients who have suffered harm because of on-the-job injuries and accidents. The firm handles all workplace injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis. This means that you owe the firm nothing until they recover money for you.
Our call center staff is available 24/7 to discuss your case. Contact us today to speak with a Cochran Firm intake specialist or attorney and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation:
Our team will discuss your legal matter with the confidentiality, understanding, and respect you deserve.
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