If an employee is injured at work or is in poor health due to work responsibilities, he/she can join the workers’ compensation program. In the United States, it is a government-sponsored program to help a worker who has been injured at work. The injured worker can receive payment in cash, but also coverage of medical expenses, if necessary. In some cases, both can be paid, especially if the injury or illness is a direct consequence of the job.
Even in the United States, there are states that are not included in this program, such as Texas. In other parts of the world, the laws are different and the program may vary. In this article, we talk mostly about the laws and regulations in the United States. For example, here you can find out how these things work in New York. Although all of this relies on federal law, any state can agree to implement it as it is or to further define the law.
When to report an injury?
If you have an accident at work, you must not ignore it. Really, you do not have enough money to cover all those expenses. You must not allow your employer to get out of such a situation either. Any injury in the workplace means that the safety protocols that the employer must provide are not followed.
If something like this happens, it means you should report it as soon as possible. In most USA states, the reporting rule applies within the first 30 days of the event. If that period expires, your report will no longer be valid. Of course, find out how long this period is in your state. Our suggestion is not to wait more than two to three days for a relevant investigation to take place.
What to expect after the report?
First, a medical examination must be done. Based on the medical report, the worker can use the benefits that workers’ compensation brings. That includes healing and resting time and injury treatment for sure. When the worker is unable to work as a result of the injury, the company is obligated to pay the whole salary to them, or even more, depending on the injury and the absence time.
You can get compensation in the first 21 days after the injury, but it can take some time, depending on how the situation develops. Usually, you do not have to wait long to get compensation. But there are different scenarios. Sometimes, an injured worker may receive monthly payments as part of compensation. But there are also situations in which the entire amount is paid at once. A period of 21 days is usually observed. There are also situations in which the payment of compensation can take several years, especially if the injury has lasting consequences on the employee’s health.
Important information for reporting a work injury
There are rules you must follow. For example, in the first three days, you will not lose part of your salary. But if this continues for the next 10 days, you must report before the compensation procedure can begin.
Note that it counts on calendar days, not weekdays. The first day after a workplace injury is proven is actually the first day of the waiting period to receive part of the payment.
But you must also know that the consequences of the injury must last at least seven days in order to be entitled to compensation of any kind.
Some injuries are obvious and easy to prove. This means that the employee can receive compensation as soon as possible. Employers must implement all protocols and rules in order to protect the employee. In some industries, it is necessary to invest in all this. Well, when an injury occurs in the workplace, it can all end in a lawsuit. Sometimes employers refuse to cooperate and even fire the injured worker.
In such situations, the whole procedure can really take even months. In some cases, when a lawsuit is filed, the agreement lasts for years. But even if you do not sue, you can exercise the rights guaranteed to you by the worker’s compensation settlement.
What are the factors that can affect the settlement?
The type of injury is the deciding factor. Some injuries may be minor and do not affect the employee’s general health. Of course, an important factor is the recovery time, but also the fact of whether you can recover in a short time or the injury is permanent.
An additional cost is the involvement of a lawyer in the whole case. In such situations, the case can be resolved either immediately or after some time, depending on what evidence you come across during the investigation.
If you are negotiating with an insurance company, you can agree quickly, but often the money is not enough to pay for the treatment. The costs increase if the case goes to court, but the time for an agreement is also delayed. But in certain situations, even that is necessary to make sure that the judgments are fair.
Ideally, there would be no such accidents. But in reality, we know that incidents happen in the workplace. But that is no reason why employers should not pay attention to working conditions and the well-being of workers. However, if an accident occurs, you should report it immediately. Some injuries seem naive but can have lifelong consequences – so don’t settle for less than you deserve.
If all goes well, compensation can arrive in a few days. But when one has to prove one’s guilt or go to court, the process is much longer. Most of the time, no one wants to waste time with such formalities. Many people make the wrong decision to negotiate with their employer or insurance company. However, you should not leave anything to anyone’s goodwill, as every worker in the USA is entitled to compensation for an injury at work. The question is just how long will it take for you to get the compensation you need.