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4 Things You Should Know if You’ve Been Injured at Work

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The United States is among the safest countries in the world to work, and evidence suggests that the number of injuries that occur in the workplace has been trending downward over the past several years. But accidents do still occur on occasion, especially if you work in one of the industries whose workers are most likely to sustain an injury, such as air transportation, construction or nursing. If you have sustained an injury or contracted a disease on the job, there are some things you should know. See below for four important things to take into consideration if you have been hurt at work.

You Might Be Eligible for Workers’ Compensation

Some people might not realize it, but if you have been hurt or have contracted a disease while at work you might be eligible to receive workers’ compensation from your employer. This compensation is meant to make up for any pay you might have lost due to being unable to work, and to cover medical expenses, household bills, and other costs you might incur due to being injured, such as having to hire someone to clean your house or run errands for you.

According to Scudder Seguin Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, a law firm in North Carolina that specializes in representing people who have been injured on the job, “Employers have been unfortunately known to deny workers’ compensation claims unfairly. Other claims have been delayed or severely reduced. If you were injured at work or became ill due to your work environment, you can greatly benefit from the knowledge and services of a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer.”

If Your Injury or Illness is Temporary

Oftentimes people only need to collect workers’ compensation payments for a limited time, until they have recovered enough to return to their jobs. If you have been injured at work and think you might be eligible for temporary workers’ compensation, you should first talk to your employer’s human resources department.

Although many employers are willing to pay workers’ compensation claims on a temporary basis, some employers expect injured or ill employees to return to work before they are ready. Returning to work too soon can make an injured employee’s situation worse, increase their long term medical costs and causing their overall productivity to decrease.

If this has happened to you, or if you don’t feel you are being treated fairly by your employer, you might want to consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer.

You Might Be Eligible For Permanent Disability Compensation

Some injuries can leave workers with life-long health issues and expensive medical bills. If your workplace illness or injury is severe enough that it will prevent you from returning to your job permanently, you might be eligible to receive permanent disability compensation. Permanent compensation is meant to help an injured worker and his or her family remain financially stable. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation for several years, or even for the rest of your life.

Having a qualified attorney represent you can help alleviate some of the stress involved in the process of applying for permanent disability compensation and allow you to focus on your needs. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you file a permanent disability claim and will represent you in the event that your claim is appealed by your employer or results in litigation with them.

You Might Be Eligible to Enroll in a Workers’ Compensation Retraining Program

If a workplace injury prevents you from returning to the job you previously held, you might be able to train for another type of job that will not require you to use the part of your body that was injured. A workers’ compensation retraining program allows an injured worker to train for a job in a different field while he or she collects a percentage of their paycheck from their previous job.

A vocational rehabilitation specialist can help injured workers enroll in a training school or certificate program that will allow them to qualify for a job in a new industry. Whatever program an injured employee is enrolled in is typically paid for by a retraining voucher. These vouchers cover the cost of tuition as well as any books or other materials that are required.

Once a retrained worker is hired for a new job they will no longer receive workers’ compensation benefits. In cases where an employee’s new job pays less than they were making previously, however, workers’ compensation payments may be able to make up the difference in his or her income.