I have been injured on my job what should I do?

If you have been injured on the job it is important that you notify your employer immediately. You should do so in writing. If your employer has forms to report an accident you should report the accident using that form. Regardless of whether or not you report the accident the Rules of the Industrial Commission (the agency responsible for handling all Workers Compensation claims) require that you file a Form 18 and that a copy be sent to your employer and the Industrial Commission. You can find these forms at your work or if they will not give you a form you can get them through your attorney or on line. Since the commission will use this document as some evidence to determine if you are entitled to compensation you should ask your attorney to assist you in filling out the forms.

I work for a small company and they do not have Workman’s Compensation insurance.

How large does a company have to be for this coverage to be required?

Any employer with two or more employees is required by law to carry Workman’s Compensation insurance. There are significant fines and penalties for the failure to do so.

My employer does not want me to claim Workman’s Compensation for my injury.

They want me to use my health insurance. Should I do this?

Your employer has no right to ask you to do this. Your health insurance has a provision that says that if you are hurt in the course and scope of your employment that their coverage does not apply. If you make a claim under your health insurance you will lose other benefits under Workman’s Compensation and will be perpetrating a fraud on your insurance company. You should contact an attorney immediately as you have been asked to do something unlawful. Your health insurance will not pay your for the time you are disabled and will not pay you for any permanent injury. These are things that are available to you under Workman’s Compensation. So you can also lose benefits that you might need in the future.

I was hurt and out of work for five days. My employer will not pay me for the time I was out of work.

Should I be paid for this time?

Under Workman’s Compensation laws your employer does not have to pay you for the first seven days that you are out of work. If you are out of work for 30 days then you will be eligible to be paid for all of the days that you are out of work including the first seven. In spite of the number of days you are still eligible to receive your medical treatment that is reasonably necessary to treat your injury.

My doctor says that I am ready to go back to work but I do not think I can do the work in my current condition.

Do I have to go?

If you fail to report to work after your doctor says you can return you can lose your right to Workman’s Compensation benefits. The better practice would be to report to work under the restrictions that you and the doctor determine are appropriate. If you find you cannot do the work and you suffer pain and further injury you can then go back to your doctor and tell him what happened when you tried to go back to work. If you do not trust your doctor then you may petition the Industrial Commission to get a second opinion. Your attorney can assist you in this.

Will I receive my full pay when I am out on Workman’s Compensation?

No, you should receive two thirds of your average weekly income during the eligible time that you are out of work.

Can I be fired for filing a Workman’s Compensation claim?

It is unlawful for your employer to terminate you because you filed a Workman’s Compensation claim. Usually the employer will use some other excuse to fire you. You have the right to bring a civil action for damages if your employer does fire you for this. You will, however, have the burden of proving that the real reason for your termination was that you filed a claim. This can be hard to prove unless you can show that others who filed claims were also fired in close proximity to the time that they filed the claims.

My employer has denied my claim. What should I do now?

If your employer denies the claim then you have the right to request a hearing. There are forms used by the Industrial Commission to do so. It is important that you obtain the assistance of an attorney to do this and to effectively present your case. If your employer has willfully and wrongfully denied your claim you have the right to request a penalty to be assessed against the employer. This is in the discretion of the Commission and will only be assessed if the evidence is very strong in favor in your favor.