I Got Injured on the Job, What Are My Rights?

Getting injured on the job is always a risk for employees, especially those working hazardous jobs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 2.7 million nonfatal work injuries reported in 2020 alone.

If you’re part of the above statistics, you’re probably wondering what your rights are as an injured employee. And yes, you do have rights if you get injured at work – no matter what your employer or insurance carrier may say.

In this post, we’ll give you a run down on what your rights are if you got injured on the job and what to do to exercise those rights.

Your Rights as an Injured Worker

If you suffered a work-related injury, know that you have the right to:

1. Claim Workers Compensation

Work injuries can be financially crippling for employees. That’s why the law ensures that they’re compensated.

Workers compensation laws vary per state. But in general, workers comp is a no-fault system. Meaning, you can claim workers compensation regardless of who’s at fault. As long as the injury happened while you’re at work, you’ll qualify for compensation.

2. Seek Medical Treatment

If you’re hurt at work, then you definitely have the right to seek medical treatment. No matter how small your injury is, you have the right to see a doctor or go to the hospital.

Your workers compensation will also include medical benefits. This will cover all your medical bills including emergency treatment, medications, doctor’s fees, and surgery (if necessary).

In some states, however, you will need to go to a treating doctor that’s accredited by your insurance provider. Otherwise, your claim can get denied and you won’t receive any medical benefits.

3. Go on a Job-Protected Leave

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees certain workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year. It applies to:

  • employees of all public agencies
  • private and public elementary and secondary schools
  • companies with 50 or more employees

Under this act, employees can file for up to 12 weeks of medical leave if they’re suffering from a serious health condition without getting fired from their job.

4. File for Disability Benefits (If Qualified)

If you meet the SSA’s requirements, then you have the right to file for disability benefits following a work injury.

The SSA offers two kinds of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The former is for those who have paid enough social security taxes. While the latter is a needs-based benefit.

To qualify for SSDI, you must:

  • have worked in jobs that pay social security taxes
  • have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability

If you don’t qualify for SSDI, you can still file for SSI as long as your medical condition prevents you from working or is expected to last for a year.

5. File an Appeal If Your Workers Comp Claim is Denied

Employers and insurance providers aren’t really known for their generosity. This is why workers comp claims are routinely denied at the initial stage.

If your claim is denied, know that you have the right to file an appeal.

Each state has a different appeals process. But in most cases, it starts with filing an appeal with your state’s workers compensation board. A mediation hearing will then be scheduled between you and your insurance provider.

If you still can’t agree on a settlement, the case will be taken before a workers comp judge. A workers comp hearing will be scheduled and the judge renders their decision usually after a few months. Many workers comp claims that were initially denied get approved after this.

6. Reasonable Accommodations When Returning to Work

Sometimes, work injuries can cause permanent impairments. That’s why some injured workers who return to work do so with restrictions. This usually means they can’t go back to the kind of job they had before their injury.

In cases like this, you have the right to reasonable accommodation as provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Reasonable accommodation” refers to modifications or adjustments in the workplace to allow disabled employees to be as productive as their able-bodied colleagues. It can mean making physical modifications like adding a ramp or just making changes to the work schedule.

Your employer cannot fire you just because they can’t or are unwilling to provide you with reasonable accommodation unless it causes them an undue burden.

What to Do If You Got Injured on the Job

If you got injured on the job, the first thing you need to do is to report your injury to your employer.

The law varies for each state but in Florida, you only have 30 days after the accident or after you’ve known about it to report your injury. Otherwise, your claim can get denied.

After you’ve reported your injury, your employer should report it to your insurance provider within 7 days. Your insurance provider will, in turn, evaluate your claim and decide whether to approve or deny it.

If your employer refuses to report your injury or your claim is denied, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced workers comp lawyer like Victor Malca. For almost three decades, he has worked tirelessly to help injured workers in Florida fight for their rights. He can help you get the benefits you deserve too. Call us now for a free consultation.

(Related: How Much Permanent Partial Disability Settlement Should You Get?)

VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney

Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.

Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.

About The Author

Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.