Worker Compensation is a form of government-mandated insurance that provides wage replacement and medical treatment to employees in cases of sustaining job-related injury or illness. In other words, it provides benefits for injury, disability, or death due to occupational hazards. If you are a citizen of the United States, then you are eligible to receive initial medical treatment, referral, and follow-up attention under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.
FECA provides coverage for all civilian employees of the United States and, in some circumstances, may also cover contract employees, volunteers, and loaned employees. Worker injury is a serious issue in the United States. Approximately 15 workers die from injuries each day, and 200 are hospitalized, according to data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States. As an American citizen, you must know the basic steps to ensure and administer a worker’s compensation claim.
Steps to Claim Compensation
There are certain guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that should be followed to ensure a safe working atmosphere. However, accidents can occur even in safe working environments. In cases of accidents, you should follow the following steps to claim compensation.
Seek medical attention
Seeking immediate care after an injury is vital, as it preserves the employee’s health and establishes a record of the injury and diagnosis. You can choose to see an approved doctor as provided by your compensation insurance company. However, in cases of emergencies, it is okay to visit the nearest hospital. Documenting medical attention after a workplace injury is integral to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, it is advisable to remain transparent to the medical staff regarding the details of the accident and work-related tasks. This will ensure the medical report documents all information.
Notify the Employer
In case an accident occurs in the absence of the employer or supervisor, it is important to inform the appropriate authorities before seeking medical attention in non-urgent injury cases. If you have to seek urgent medical attention for your injury, make sure to inform the employer as soon as possible. According to the regulations, the employer is obligated to report the accident within seven days. If, however, they fail to do so, you can contact the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Fill Out a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Once the incident has been reported, you will be contacted by your insurance company. This is a preliminary step to filling out the claim, as you will receive information on the claim and need to verify the details. Go through the report carefully and do not sign it if there are discrepancies in the details. Instead, contact your insurance company to amend the information. You would be required to provide a medical record of the treatment.
Contact an experienced Attorney
Although the process of obtaining workers’ benefits as per the compensation claim is smooth, it is essential to consult or hire an experienced lawyer. Since attorneys are experienced with legal procedures, they would be in a better position to claim benefits on your behalf. It is also advisable to consult with lawyers familiar with local laws and regulations. For instance, if you suffered a workplace injury in Chicago, you should contact Chicago worker’s compensation lawyers at RIL or lawyers from other firms familiar with local proceedings in Chicago.
If you choose to file a claim independently, it is important to consult a lawyer in cases of denied claims. The company can deny your claims in case of missing paperwork like medical records and documents. It is, therefore, essential to keep all documents safe. A denied claim may also indicate the employer is disputing the claim. Moreover, an injured employee cannot sue the employer for compensation related to an injury occurring at work. Instead, third-party compensation must be pursued in this regard.
Although you can’t prevent all incidents and injuries from happening, you can control how they are handled. Following OSHA guidelines is one way to prevent accidents in your workplace. Other preventive actions can be employed to avoid worker injuries and accidents, including:
- Incorporating a safety action plan
- Inspecting company equipements
- Providing protection measures
- Educating the management and employees
- Researching safety vulnerabilities
- Conducting training programs
- Having adequate staffing levels
- Conducting regular medical assessments
- Keeping an orderly workplace
Filing a worker’s compensation claim is the primary way to recover and claim benefits. Compensation benefits are provided in the form of medical assistance, additional wages, and vocational rehabilitation. Worker’s compensation also aids injured employees in recovering financially, speeds up their return to work, and shields businesses from liability claims.