Getting hurt at work can turn your world upside down. Many kinds of issues could lead to an unexpected accident and injuries. A piece of machinery could malfunction, causing major injuries. You could slip and fall because of a leak in the roof or a co-worker spilling coffee. There are countless ways to sustain a workplace injury, although the most likely risk factors vary depending on your career.
Regardless of what workplace risk factors contribute to your injury, you need to make sure that you report the accident as soon as possible to a manager or human resources contact. After seeking medical care, you can then file a claim for workers’ compensation. Your employer, who pays for this coverage, should support you as you recover, not penalize you for seeking the compensation you need.
Some employers will penalize workers who file insurance claims
Expensive workplace injury claims can impact how much a company has to pay each month for a workers’ compensation premium. If your injury requires surgery, ongoing hospitalization or other expensive medical services, that could end up affecting the policy for your employer.
Most companies accept that cost with good grace. After all, the policy helps ensure that you have compensation for your medical costs and lost wages while you recover. However, some companies will worry more about their bottom line than the well-being and future quality of life of their employees.
Watch out for signs of retaliation or discrimination
As an injured worker, you have special rights under federal law. Your employer should do everything reasonable to accommodate your injuries and allow you to return to work as soon as possible. Some companies punish workers who file for workers’ compensation by refusing reasonable accommodations at work. Others will take actions such as replacing the injured worker during medical leave or otherwise finding a way to fire or terminate that employee.
You have a right to a safe workplace and to compensation and coverage in the wake of a workplace accident. If your employer retaliates against you because you asserted your rights, you have the right to report them for discrimination to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 30 days of the action you feel constitutes retaliation.
Your employer should uphold and protect your rights, not seek to violate them. If you have lost your job, been denied a promotion or otherwise faced serious retaliation from your employer as a result of a workplace injury, you need to push back against that illegal discrimination. Filing a discrimination claim and potentially seeking additional compensation from your employer via a lawsuit may be the best way to deter the company from doing to the same thing to another injured worker in the future.