If you sustain an injury after a workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, the process of obtaining this compensation is extensive. You may need to overcome several legal obstacles or even contend with resistance from your employer or their insurer. As such, you will want to do everything you can to avoid accidents in the first place—especially since some accidents could cause lifelong injuries or disabilities.
To avoid workplace injuries, we recommend the following:
- Take short, frequent breaks for rest and stretches. Many workplace injuries result from either repetitive motion or static positions, but you can easily mitigate the risk with short breaks and brief stretches. Many workplaces pressure employees to skip breaks and push themselves to the limit, but this kind of treatment is unethical and, in some cases, illegal.
- Report unsafe conditions. Your employer is legally required to ensure a safe working environment for their employees and customers. If you are worried your employer will punish you for speaking up about unsafe conditions, know that this would be considered retaliation, and it is illegal.
- Follow all recommended safety precautions. Your employer should provide information about lifting heavy objects, operating machinery, and completing other tasks in a safe manner. If your employer is pushing you to work as quickly as possible, you may be tempted to skip these precautions—especially if your employer subtly encourages you to do so. As mentioned earlier, however, this type of pressure is unacceptable. When you adhere to safety guidelines, you will significantly decrease your likelihood of sustaining an injury. If you hurt yourself even after taking all the recommended precautions, you will have an easier time obtaining compensation.
- Know your limits. Excessive overtime and quick turnarounds between shifts may prevent you from getting enough sleep or otherwise taking care of yourself. Everyone appreciates a hard work ethic, but sleep deprivation can significantly increase your likelihood of accidentally hurting yourself at work.
Accidents happen—no matter how careful you are. People make mistakes, and incidents are particularly likely in high-productivity environments, such as restaurants. In addition to taking the above precautions, you can prepare for the worst by learning about your workers’ compensation rights, knowing who to go to in the event of an accident, and understanding what to expect from the claims process.
What to Do if an Accident Occurs
Workers’ compensation laws protect you from the financial repercussions of a workplace injury. In other words, any medical bills, lost wages, and other monetary losses resulting from the incident should be covered by your employer’s insurer.
However, you must complete several steps to obtain fair compensation. These steps include:
- Reporting your injury right away
- Accepting treatment from the medical facility where your employer sends you
- Filing an official claim (which is different from the report your employer files) within one year of your injury
- Retaining professional assistance if you aren’t sure what to do, if your employer fails to report your injury, or if your claim is denied
In any injury claim process, your time is limited. If you don’t report your injury or file your claim before the deadline, you may be forfeiting your right to compensation. In general, you will have a much greater likelihood of success if you treat this matter with a sense of urgency and thoroughness.
Let Our Firm Assist You with Your Claim
Do you have questions about workers’ compensation or need representation during a disputed claim process? At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, our attorneys have more than 15 years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for work-related injuries and illnesses. No matter what caused the incident, you have rights, and our job is to preserve those rights and fight for your present and future wellbeing.