Employers nationwide must provide as safe and healthy a working environment as is reasonably possible for their employees. Unfortunately, some employers fail to uphold this duty, and the hazardous work environment causes injuries or illnesses to their employees. Other times, employers may do everything that they can to ensure a safe working environment, but employees still sustain injuries performing work-related tasks. When you are injured as a direct result of your employer’s negligence or while on the job, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you’ve been injured on the job in the Tennessee area, contact a local Chattanooga workers’ comp lawyer to help you through this claims process.
What are My Rights if I Was Hurt on the Job?
Each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to workers’ compensation law, as well as when it comes to the rights of employees who are hurt on the job. However, there are certain laws that apply to most states. Overall, the following rights are fairly standard from state to state:
- You have the right to seek medical treatment if you were injured on the job.
- You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim through the state industrial court or through workers’ comp court.
- You have the right to representation by a lawyer during your claim process.
- You generally have the right to appeal decisions made by your employer, workers’ comp court or the employer’s insurance company.
- You have the right to resume your job if your physician deems you fit.
- You have the right to collect disability compensation if your injury or illness prevents you from returning to work temporarily or permanently.
Rights Against Third Parties
Workers’ compensation claims are aimed at reimbursing you for your lost wages and medical expenses associated with your work-related injury or illness. They do not compensate you for any “non-economic” damages like pain and suffering that are trickier to assign a monetary value to.
But if a third party was responsible in some way for your ailment, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit, or a “third-party claim,” against them. For example, if a manufacturer defect in a piece of machinery is ultimately what caused the accident that led to your injuries, you can file a civil case against the manufacturer in order to claim compensation for your other losses.
How to Protect Your Rights
In order to ensure that you are entitled to your workers’ compensation rights, it’s important to follow the appropriate procedures. The first and most important step in protecting your rights is to report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. In most states, you are required to report your work-related injury or illness the day the incident occurs or as soon as possible thereafter.
After you notify your employer and seek any necessary emergent treatment, you’ll need to file a claim with your state’s workers’ comp court or industrial court. This formally notifies your employer, your employer’s insurance company and the court of your situation, which is vital in protecting your right to compensation.
Contact a Chattanooga Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today
When you’re injured on the job and require compensation for your medical bills and lost wages, a Chattanooga workers’ comp lawyer from McMahan Law Firm is here to help. Our experienced attorneys are familiar with the complexities of workers’ compensation law and can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve. Contact a Chattanooga workers’ comp lawyer today to discuss your case.