No matter how careful you are, you can get in an accident at work. This can be due to the nature of your job or as a result of someone’s negligence. Whatever the reason, if you get injured at work, then you deserve to be compensated. Some injuries can also be very serious that may result in a long recovery or disability. Being injured and out of work can take a toll on your finances and quality of life, especially if you have to pay for medical bills. You shouldn’t bear the responsibility for something that isn’t your fault and is the result of someone else’s carelessness or poor judgment. You should remember that you have rights, and you must fight for them. If you get injured at work and aren’t sure if you are entitled to workers’ compensation or not, then keep reading to find out.
Be Considered an Employee
Only employees are allowed to demand compensation from their employers if they are injured in the workplace. You may think that since you work at the company then you must be an employee. However, this isn’t the case because when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance, not all workers are considered employees. For example, freelancers, gardeners, or consultants don’t qualify as employees and aren’t entitled to certain benefits. In some cases, employers want to avoid paying payroll taxes so they incorrectly classify them as independent contractors which is the case with Lyft and Uber drivers. However, injuries can still happen as workers are subjected to different hazards as a result of their daily responsibilities. If you want to make sure that you are considered an employee, you have to fill out a tax form and file for income taxes.
The Employer Has to be Insured
If someone has a business and hires employees then they must have workers’ compensation insurance. Before you take any steps towards your compensation claim, you have to make sure that the company is insured by workers’ compensation. Once you make sure of that, then you should, according to a workers compensation lawyer in South Carolina, hire an experienced attorney to file the proper paperwork to get you compensated. If your boss decides to offer you compensation, you shouldn’t sign it before consulting your lawyer first. Your company may be paying you much less than what you deserve and if you sign off, you won’t be able to sue them later on. An experienced lawyer who specializes in these kinds of cases will be able to value the damages that you have suffered and determine how much you should be compensated. Whether your employer is insured or not, you will benefit from consulting a specialized attorney who will advise you and guide you towards what needs to be done. You don’t have to worry about the costs as many lawyers do consultations for free or for a small fee.
The Injury Is Work-Related
If you want to qualify for compensation, then your injury must be work-related. So if you get hurt or sick at work or while doing something that benefits your company, then your injury qualifies for compensation. For instance, injuring your back while carrying heavy boxes, getting sick after being exposed to something toxic, or if typing has caused carpal tunnel syndrome. In some situations, it may be hard to prove that these injuries are work-related which is why you need an experienced attorney. You should know that not all on-site injuries entitle you to compensation because you may get hurt during lunch break or while goofing around with another co-worker. Additionally, being injured while on your way to work or while leaving will not make you entitled to compensation as well.
Report Before the Deadline
You must report your work accident immediately after it happens, and make sure that the report is written, not verbal. You should know that there is a deadline for reporting injuries and filing a claim, and each state has its own deadline. So, if you miss that period, you will not receive any compensation. It is also recommended that you take pictures of the scene of the accident, your injuries, and keep all receipts and medical bills.
Even if you work in the safest environment, you may still get hurt at work. Since you have legal rights, you should be compensated for the pain and suffering that you have endured. However, in order to be entitled to compensation you have to be an employee in the company, your employer must be insured, the injury must be work-related, and report it as soon as it happens. It is recommended to consult a lawyer before you take any steps or sign any papers.