Hurt on the Job: The Basic Things Every Worker Needs To Know
For many workers in Michigan and elsewhere today, an injury, especially one that leaves unable to work for a given time-frame, is their worst nightmare. However, in the case of work-related injuries, if an employer refuses to pay worker’s compensation the employee has no choice but to begin a suit for it, which can be costly and time-consuming.
While at the end of the day it is up to lawyers and insurance companies to battle it out in reaching a settlement, there are steps every worker can take to secure the compensation which they are entitled in the case of a work injury, without needing to go to the litigation stage.
Report, Report, Report
Without a doubt, the first, most quintessential step to take when you are injured on the job is to report it. Not only can none of the steps occur without this one, but you are legally obligated to report your injury within ninety (90) days from when you know about or should have known about the injury.
This regulation comes from the Worker’s Disability Compensation Act (WDCA), and without fulfilling this requirement within the ninety days you cannot seek compensation. However, it’s rather simple. The WDCA simply requires you to advise your employer (not a team leader, shift lead, or coworker, but the employer themselves, or whoever is responsible for injury reports).
Report, Report, Report: Part Two
While the WDCA sets the federal requirement for injury reporting at three months, it is also imperative that you know exactly what your employer’s injury reporting regulations are. Failure to comply to these may lead to denial of benefits, and a long, litigious process.
One example would be with employers who will argue that an injury must be reported within twenty-four (24) hours or less, or the employee risks losing any right to benefits. This means that giving a worker giving themselves “a few days to see how it feels” can lose out on their claim eligibility, as the employer would simply point to the 24-hour rule not being followed.
Employers are likely to do this for injuries occurring on Fridays, as well, given that if the injury is reported the following workday (Monday), three days have passed, and therefore the injury being work-related is debatable. A well-versed worker’s comp lawyer could and would fight this, but it shows of in of itself that every worker owes it to themselves to report an injury immediately.
Nonetheless, an employer’s argument that an injury was not reported on time should always be greeted with skepticism, and the employee should absolutely consult experienced lawyers to see if the case is still legitimate under WDCA policy.
Don’t Forget That Medical History Is Crucial In Workers Comp Cases
Inaccurate or incomplete medical histories given by medical providers form some of the most common reasons for failed worker’s comp cases. A worker pursuing medical compensation needs to make sure that every physician or doctor (in-company or external) they see is aware of the link between the worker’s job and the injury.
Furthermore, the worker must ensure that the doctors write complete, comprehensive medical histories, as these will be submitted as evidence in any case of worker’s compensation. A doctor asked to testify months after a visit will likely forget important details, while a signed medical history form will be nonnegotiable in the case of litigation.
Asking for a confirmation from the medical provider on the history, as well as copies of all documents, are steps you should take to protect yourself from incompetence or negligence down the line.
Don’t Ignore The Fine Print
Immediately following an alleged injury, employers will frequently ask workers to fill out sickness and accident or short-term disability forms in the meantime. These will help the worker stay on their feet while the employer determines whether the worker merits worker’s compensation benefits.
One of the constant questions on every one of these forms will concern the link between the injury or disability and the job. Generally, the question is phrased as follows:
“Do you believe that your disability was caused by an injury at work? Do you believe that the injury or disability arose out of your employment?”
If the worker is confident the injury is linked to the employment, they should fill out the form as such. However, if the worker is uncertain of the link, they should always answer with “I am uncertain at this time; I am awaiting medical advice.”
For workers who have already filled out this form and answered in the negative because they assumed there was no link, they may still have a chance at worker’s compensation. It complicates things a bit, but if the injury truly is linked to the employment then the worker can still get their benefits.
Employer Says No? Time For Battle For Your Compensation and Rights
If, after all of these steps were consulted, your employer says rejects your claim for worker’s compensation, do not just take their word for it. Contact experienced Michigan lawyers today to see if you have a legitimate claim for worker’s comp. Call The Clark Law Office at +1 (517) 347-6900 today.