Most work-related injuries happen because employers don’t follow Occupational Safety and Health Act’s job safety and health regulations. By law, employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace — free of injury — and if this isn’t the case, employees have the right to report them to Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and ask for immediate workplace inspection.
Due to the complicated categorization of these reports and a number of criteria they need to satisfy before Occupational Safety and Health Act inspectors visit the company, work-related accidents are quite common in all states.
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Workers’ compensation provides benefits or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job or work conditions. Employers are obliged to pay for this insurance and they shall not require employees to contribute to their workers’ compensation plan.
All injury claims are being processed by Workers’ Compensation Board, which is a state agency that determines the need for cash and medical care reimbursements and benefits. Their decision is not based on individual fault and the only instances when employees will lose the right for workers’ compensation, is when:
- Injury results solely from workers’ intoxication from drugs or alcohol;
- When they had an intent to injure themselves or other workers.
In order to speed up your recovery and workers’ compensation claim process, you should follow this simple procedure:
1. Obtain first aid and other necessary treatments as soon as possible
If you are in an emergency situation, you should find the first medical institution where you can obtain first aid. If your life or health aren’t in the immediate danger you should go to the nearest healthcare provider that’s authorized by Workers’ Compensation Board. You can find the list of authorized health care providers on your state’s Workers’ Compensation Board website or you can call a toll free state Workers’ Compensation Board line.
If your employer is participating in Preferred Provider Organization or Alternate Dispute Resolution programs, you will need to obtain a medical treatment at a participating healthcare facility. Your employers should notify you in writing and give you the details about their Preferred Provider Organization or Alternate Dispute Resolution programs and the healthcare institutions you can use in case you get sick or injured at work.
If you are in the need of diagnostic test or prescription medicine, your employer might require you to obtain these services at diagnostic network or pharmacy they have contracted with. In most cases, all medical expenses are paid by your employer, but in some institutions, you might need to sign the Form A-9, which guarantees that you will pay for medical treatment yourself if Workers’ Compensation Board rejects your claim.
2. Notify your manager or employer
You should notify your manager or employer about your injury and the circumstances in which it occurred. Always notify them in writing and keep one copy for yourself. This is an obligatory move and if you fail to inform your supervisors about your injury, 30 days after it occurred, you will lose the right for workers’ compensation benefits. In case you got ill from occupational disease, you need to notify your supervisor within two years from the moment you knew that the disease was work-related.
3. Complete workers’ compensation claim
Workers’ compensation claim can be filed at the nearest Workers’ Compensation Board office, and it requires you to fill in the Form C-3. You can also send your claim through regular mail. The claim needs to be filed within two years from the date of the accident, or from the date when you found out about a work-related disease. In the case of more serious injuries, you should hire a personal lawyer, who will protect your right to a fair compensation in workers’ compensation court or in a civil lawsuit.
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Most claims are resolved within 24 days. Within 48h of the accident, the doctor who treated you is required to complete preliminary medical report and send it to Workers’ Compensation Board’s District Office. The employer also needs to report your injury to WCB, within 10 days of your notification of the accident. Then in the next 18 days, you will receive a written statement of your rights from the insurer and they will begin the payment of benefits.
During this process, you should follow doctor’s instructions in order to speed up the recovery and get back to work as soon as possible. You also might need to attend an Independent Medical Examination or special case hearings at Workers’ Compensation Board’s District Office.