Tim, a mechanic, slid under a van to check out the bottom of the vehicle. As he wheeled back out, his creeper rolled over a stray tool. It should have been nothing. But he slid off the creeper, and his tailbone hit the concrete, hard. A sudden, wrenching pain seized his lower back.
Jay, a highway worker, is out one day setting cones in the work zone. He is wearing his yellow safety vest. Out of nowhere, a pickup truck veers over into the lane he is closing. The car hits him, and throws him into the ditch. His leg and arm are broken.
Delia, a delivery driver, is in a car accident while at work in San Diego. The other driver ran a red light. While she thinks she is “okay” and walks away from the accident, a few weeks later she starts having blinding headaches that make it difficult to drive.
What do all of these people have in common? They were injured while at work. Workers compensation is designed to pay for medical treatment received as a result of a workplace injury. Workers compensation can also provide weekly payments while you are out of work. Workers compensation rules and guidelines vary by state.
If you are injured at work, you need to report the injury to your employer immediately. Many companies have an official policy in place, and will direct you to report the injury to either your supervisor or the human resources department. Seek medical treatment from an employer-approved physician, at least at first. It is important that your injury is initially confirmed by this physician. You may be able to seek alternative treatment later, if ongoing care is required.
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You also need to find out the requirements for filing a claim to your employer’s workers compensation provider. Your human resources department should be able to provide the required forms. The forms should be completed promptly, thoroughly and accurately in order to protect any rights you may have.
Finally, document your injury. Write down your own recollection of where you were when the injury happened and how it happened. Take photos of your injuries. Keep a list of other people who were present when you were injured. Consult an attorney if needed.
In order to be entitled to workers compensation, the injury must have occurred while you were at work, or working on behalf of your employer. Car accidents that occur on the job, whether the driver involved is a delivery driver whose job is to drive from place to place making deliveries, or a manager who is simply heading to a client’s business location for a meeting, are covered under workers compensation.