The first thing to do when injured in the workplace is to take care of yourself and try to avoid further injury. Seek medical attention if necessary. Once the injury occurs (or you learn of the injury) you have ninety days to file a claim for workers' compensation. The employer must be notified of the accident or injury. If you do not inform your employer within ninety days your will lose your right to file for workers' compensation.
Your employer should file a First Report of Injury within seven days of learning of the incident. If your employer does not complete this report, you should seek legal advice from a competent attorney. File a claim for workers' compensation to ensure the employer will take financial responsibility for medical treatment and lost wages.
Your employer has the right to choose a health care provider for the first ten days. After the initial ten days of treatment you may choose another doctor, however, the employer is entitled to a second opinion. Your employer should pay for medicine, treatment, and travel expenses to and from the health care provider. If your employer is disputing your claim for workers' compensation then submit your bills to your current health insurance. They must provide you with their benefits until your workers' compensation claim can be decided.
You are entitled to eighty percent of your after tax average weekly wage. Your employer must decide if they are going to dispute your claim within fourteen days. If they do not dispute your claim, weekly benefit payments must begin after the fourteen days are up. If they dispute your claim, be sure to discuss your case with an attorney. The length of time that your benefits will continue to be paid depends on the severity of the injury, whether or not you can return to work, and in what capacity you can complete all of your duties at work.
Your employer cannot discriminate against you after you have filed a workers' compensation claim. They must also give your job back if you are able to return to work. They can be required to give you a new job if your injury does not allow you to complete your previous job's duties, as well as, provide reasonable accommodations for your injury provided it does not cause undue hardship for the employer.
There are penalties that can be imposed for violations to the workers' compensation act. These penalties can be assessed on the employer or employee for not completing the appropriate forms and reports. Employers can also be penalized for making late payment of benefits. Legal consequences can also be imposed for willful violations, fraud, or intentional misrepresentation. As with any legal decision, it is wise to get the advice of an attorney that deals with workers' compensation laws.
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