On-the job injuries are common, even in offices and other seemingly harmless work environments. Any worker who performs the same task day in and day out is at risk for repetitive motion injuries. Likewise, slip and falls can happen anywhere, and can inflict a variety of injuries from broken bones to head, neck, and back injuries. Workers also commonly succumb to overexertion injuries such as sprains and strains and other musculoskeletal disorders. Those who operate heavy machinery can be injured if that machinery malfunctions, is operated improperly, or if they lack personal protective equipment. Vehicle accidents and workplace violence are also common causes of workplace injuries.
Fortunately, most workers in Delaware are covered under their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, the actions you take following a work-related accident can affect your claim and the amount of compensation you can recover. Be sure you know the proper steps to take if you or a loved one has suffered an injury at work.
For your claim to be taken seriously, it helps to have evidence and documentation of your injury. The first step in documenting what happened to you is seeing a doctor after you are injured. The doctor will take notes about how and when your work accident happened and detail the extent of your injuries. They will also treat your injury and give you qualified information on further care.
Some workers do not see a doctor, insisting that they can get by on their own. This can make it easy for insurers to deny your claim for care should your injury worsen and require treatment down the road. Even if you think your injuries are too minor to warrant a trip to the doctor, it is advisable to see one anyway.
The next step in documenting your work accident and injuries is to make sure your supervisor knows about it. Your employer should have procedures in place for when a worker is injured. When an accident happens and you inform your supervisor, he or she must file a First Report of Occupational Injury or Disease. This should begin the process of medical treatment for your injuries and compensation for the costs you incur as a result.
There are deadlines for filing that can differ from state to state. Keep copies of any paperwork you turn in. If you are not able to file electronically, send your claim in via certified mail.
In the event you are dealing with an insurer that denies your claim, you have two years from the date of the work accident to file a petition for Workers’ Compensation due with the Office of Workers’ Compensation. In addition to the requirement that you prove your work injury or illness is compensable under Delaware Workers’ Compensation law, you will also need to prove that you completed all the necessary paperwork within the required timelines. For these reasons and more, it is advisable to work with an experienced work injury lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the Workers’ Compensation system and the deadlines associated with filing a claim.
All employers have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace that complies with federal, state, and local safety standards. This includes training workers to recognize and avoid hazards and providing them with the appropriate personal protective equipment. Employers must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, report injuries to their insurer, and cooperate with any investigations into work accidents and injuries.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, the skilled Delaware work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will fight to make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. Trust our team to take care of your legal needs, so that you can focus on your recovery. Call us today at (302) 427-9500 or (302) 600-1107 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have convenient locations in Milford, Wilmington, and Bear serving satisfied clients throughout the state of Delaware.