Suffering a personal injury can be devastating, along with the implications of impairment, disability, loss of income, and self-esteem issues or trauma. Most often, there are also financial consequences that will ensue after a major injury. Some of the economic implications that will take place, due to inability to work or unpaid sick leave, may last months or even years after the injury time. Unfortunately, perhaps too often, the financial costs due to severe disability from a work injury are permanent.
The following article will explore some of the ways in which a personal injury lawyer could protect and serve you as an employer of an injured staff member or as an employee who has recently been injured while working. As it will be important for you to find an expert whose expertise and representation you trust, we include some practical help in searching for your most suitable service provider.
One of the first important things to know as an employee recently injured at work is to establish your policy-driven support, rights and responsibilities.
Your right to receive benefit
While many employees are unaware of their rights to claim benefits, it is essential that worker’s compensation is demanded from liable parties. With the signing of most job contracts, there usually exists a clause allowing you the right to receive certain medical care and financial benefit if an injury is acquired while working. The extent to which regulations and policies are supporting your pursuit of certain outcomes is crucial, as this may well influence your legal decisions.
In different cases, across states and company policies, compensation for employees who get injured while they are working vary. Overall, it is your responsibility to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can guide your legal process to receive sufficient medical and financial benefit.
Importantly, the injured claimant should contact a legal expert as soon after their accident as possible, leaving more time for proactive strategizing and less time for defensive negotiation. A personal injury attorney will be able to prepare you for some difficult, life-changing decisions which could drastically change the outcome of the case. All necessary attention should be given to the seriousness of hiring legal assistance early, while your case is new and before any unplanned mistakes take place.
Sometimes, by being uninformed, we simply do not take the appropriate decisive action needed for a case. For example, do you know when an employee should contact an employer to let them know you’ve been affected by injury at work? And how can your personal insurance policies support our work-related claims?
First notice of injury
Depending on the type of injury incurred, the employee may be asked to sign a First Notice of Injury Form. This means that within the immediate 30 or 90 days after the accident, the injured employee is required to report any injuries, accidents or symptoms to relevant internal staff. At the same time, as soon as it is first noticed, it’s crucial to report and begin documenting evidence of personal injury in any suitable form, including photos or videos. If later upon closer inspection injuries it is being disputed whether the employee indeed suffered a personal injury, long-standing evidence will support the veracity of the case. In the case of prolonged legal battles, it’s significant to know that even if the law has changed since the occurrence of the accident, the same laws that were applicable at injury time apply throughout the length of the case.
Maintain accurate record
It is mostly common knowledge now that all evidence that could support your legal case should be documented accurately and safely. As previously mentioned, photographic or video evidence of your personal injuries could be key to winning your case.
However, extensive experience from experts support that there are many forms of evidence that could work in favour of an employee’s case. For example, evidence that could assist a lawyer in a work injury claim extends to any witness statements (your own and others), medical bills, doctors’ reports, recovery notes and any medical scans. Furthermore, keeping track of therapy, specialists’ and rehabilitation expenses could result in being reimbursed if your claim is successful.
One thing that is unpleasant to bring up with employees recently injured while working is the reality that a job previously fulfilled may not be appropriate given the impact of injury or time necessary to recover from an accident. Employees may be put on ‘light duty’ or ‘modified duty’ if their portfolio role is reduced in scope or adapted in some way.
It is always difficult to approach such sensitive topics, especially with staff only just managing to survive their injury. However, a personal injury lawyer can put the entire process at ease with sufficient guidance, expertise and empathy.