Workplace injuries are a burden for both employees and employers. At the very least, it's painful, you must file tons of paperwork, insurance is involved, there's potential for loss of income, and you must manage all of this while rehabilitating.
Regardless of injury, you have the right to compensation when injured on the job. Here are some steps to follow when you are injured in the workplace.
What qualifies as a workplace injury?
It does not matter if you were injured in the location of your workplace or while off-site during a work-related job. Workers are eligible for workers' compensation as long as they are injured while conducting work through their employer, including aggravating a pre-existing condition.
Employers are required to cover these work-related injuries through their worker's compensation insurance. With that said, it's important to note that there are a few workers in Nebraska who are ineligible to receive workers' compensation, those being:
- Domestic Services
- Agricultural operations employees
- Employees of railroad companies engaged in interstate or foreign commerce
If you fall under one of these categories, it's best to invest in short-term disability insurance. It's relatively inexpensive and can supply you with enough compensation to get through a temporary ailment.
Focus on the injury and seek medical attention
Everyone involved should remain focused on the injury instead of placing blame, even if the injury was out of your control or a result of a coworker's negligence. The main focus is to take care of the injury and avoid further harm. The rest can be sorted out later. Plus, you cannot un-injure yourself, so placing blame will only make the immediate situation worse. Focus on your immediate health and not what lies ahead.
Report the injury as soon as possible
The process becomes easier for all parties involved when the injury is reported immediately. Your employer is unable to file a workers' compensation claim with the insurance company until the incident has been reported. It's important to inform your employer in writing, not just through conversation. Your employer will them give you some paperwork to finish to complete the workers' compensation processes.
Establish a timeline
No employee wants to miss a long period of work, and no employer wants to miss an employee either. Consult with your doctor to establish how long the healing and/or rehabilitation process will take. Notify your employer on your expected return date. It's a good idea to make a "worse case scenario" timeline and return earlier than the planned date to avoid any further headaches. No one should be upset with a pleasant surprise such as returning from injury sooner than expected.
Also, make sure you are fully healed when you come back to work and do not push the envelope. An unhealed injury is more susceptible to re-injury, or more severe injury down the line. This can lead to lasting consequences and even chronic ailments.
If you are not granted workers' compensation
If your employer or their insurance company denies you of workers' compensation, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. Workers' compensation is a vital need to keep you and your family on your feet through this tough time. A lawyer's objective is to help you receive maximum benefits while you miss work.