Lawmakers have enacted numerous laws that are designed to encourage a safe workplace in the state of New Jersey. Nonetheless, certain jobs are dangerous by their very nature, and there will always be workplace accidents. When such an accident happens, you can help yourself by following some basic steps.
Report the Accident and/or Injury As Soon As Possible
After an open and obvious accident, where immediate medical attention is required to treat an injury, reporting the incident usually is not an issue. However, there are other situations where an employee may not immediately realize they were injured or might think the injury is so minor that reporting it is unnecessary. Don’t make this mistake. In many instances, what may initially like a minor injury can develop into a more serious condition down the road. Failing to report the injury in a timely manner can adversely affect your ability to file a claim and receive workers’ compensation benefits.
So, if you feel your back strain while lifting heavy equipment, stumble and twist your ankle at work or experience another similar issue that may seem minor at first blush, don’t hesitate to report it to your employer. Notify your supervisor or boss about the injury as soon as it occurs. In many cases, minor injuries will not require extensive medical attention but, occasionally, a minor injury will manifest into a major injury later on. Failure to report the initial injury in a timely fashion can give the workers’ compensation insurance carrier a reason to deny your claim.
Get Medical Treatment
In an emergency situation, you may need to head straight to the hospital before you can notify your employer about your injury. In these instances, so long as the injury occurred within the scope of your employment, the emergency room bills and any needed ongoing medical treatment should be provided through your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. Of course, once you are situated and comfortable, you should report the injury to your employer and participate in the workers’ compensation course of treatment.
File a Claim
Speak to a lawyer about filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. It is your right, which you can lose due to the passage of time. You may file a Claim Petition with New Jersey’s Division of Labor. The petition will contain information about you, your employer, their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, your job and wages, and details about your injury, when you reported it and any time you’ve missed from work due to your injury. By filing a formal Claim Petition, you will be able to seek the maximum possible compensation for your injury.
Don’t Sign Away Your Rights
Beware of any waivers you are asked to sign by your employer, their insurance company or a medical professional. You may be offered a settlement in exchange for waiving your rights. It’s a good idea to have an attorney review anything presented to you before you sign it.
Seek Legal Representation
Not all workplace injuries are treated equally or fairly. If you have been injured at work, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can explain your rights and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. In some cases involving the negligence of parties other than your employer, you may also be able to pursue a separate personal injury claim. Contact the Reinartz Law Firm for more information.